How successful the Delhi government’s ambitious ‘odd-even’ numberplate formula for private vehicles will be remains to be seen, but some businesses, especially in the alternative transportation sphere, will surely be the unlikely beneficiaries.
As per reports, nearly 10 lakh private cars will stay off roads in the national capital every day once the experimental policy is enforced from January 1.
Calling it an ‘admirable experiment’, Greg Moran, CEO and co-founder of Zoomcar —a self-drive car rental company with a fleet of nearly 2,000 cars across six cities, including Delhi-NCR — is banking on its recently announced ‘Zoom Commute’ initiative that allows customers to rent vehicles at special rates (R3,000 for a car like Ford Figo) for a week (Monday to Friday, including fuel). “The special package is customised for those who are driving limited kilometres per day. We are confident there will be good demand for our vehicles during this even-odd experiment,” he says.
New Delhi-based ECO Rent A Car, another car rental company that offers chauffeur-driven as well as self-drive vehicles, plans to utilise fully its ’employee transport services’ (ETS) division that works with companies to provide smooth, safe and cost-effective solutions for commute (pick-up and drop).
“The platform clubs people from similar residential areas and going towards the same office destinations. It, therefore, optimises a vehicle’s seating capacity,” says Aditya Loomba, MD of ECO Rent a Car.
“This (the odd-even policy), of course, creates significant opportunities for start-ups like ours. Learnings from global models suggest that one shared car replaces purchase of 10-15 private vehicles. Imagine the environmental benefit of that,” says Karan Jain, co-founder and COO of Revv, a car rental company with ‘doorstep car delivery’ service.
Meanwhile, taxi-hailing app Uber has already jumped on the bandwagon by launching a car-pooling initiative in Delhi. Through this, Uber will try to tap the 27 lakh private cars in the city and encourage them to use its app to pick and drop random strangers.
In order to use this new Uber service, Delhi users need to choose a carpool from ‘Uber Go’ option on their app, which will pair them with another car going in the same direction. The service would be available between 7 am and 9 pm, and users would be allowed to offer their cars or use others’ cars after a screening process. Up to 20% of the income generated via this service would be charged by Uber from every car owner.
Not to be left behind, Ola, too, has launched ‘Ola Share’ – a social ride-sharing offering in Delhi-NCR to allow citizens travelling on the same routes to share their rides with users from social groups they are part of. Users can also request creation of groups with due e-mail verification, Ola said.
Supporting the concept of ride-sharing (or carpooling), Raghav Gupta, India country manager for BlaBlaCar—a ride-sharing company headquartered in Paris—says the mechanism helps people travel better by using assets that are already existent, for instance, empty seats in private cars. “This can be a useful solution during the odd-even experiment. Over the past one year, Indians have already taken to ride-sharing in a sizeable manner,” he explains.
For the period, BlaBlaCar will make it possible for its members, who need to travel daily to work, to post recurring rides on the dates suited to them. “This way, they can remember the dates and receive enquiries for the dates on which they can travel,” Gupta adds.
Some specialised operators are also looking forward. Gurgaon-based bus aggregation platform Shuttl is adding more routes, primarily connecting residential/ transport hubs to office areas. “We will also add routes that connect Delhi to Gurgaon/ Faridabad/ Noida/ Ghaziabad,” says Amit Singh, co-founder of Shuttl. Launched in April, Shuttl has over 500 buses in its fleet that cover over 60 routes across Delhi-NCR. Its charges vary from R20 to R70 per ride, depending on the route.
Delhi-based autorickshaw aggregator AutonCab is also hoping that its platform will eliminate all pain-points in the common man’s daily life. The key features of the app, available on both iOS and Android, include the fare calculator, which saves the passenger from haggling with the driver; display of the expected time of arrival of the driver; ability to rate the driver and the customer; and visibility of the pickup addresses on the map. The company deducts a fixed transaction fee per ride as a convenience charge over the calculated fare.
Two-wheel taxi service M-Taxi is all set to tap the last-mile connectivity space, especially for users of Metro.
“Passengers struggling to beat traffic or are in a hurry to reach their destinations can either hail or book M-Taxi through our app. Passengers can also track the rider through the app before hopping on, and pay online or with cash,” offers Arunabh Madhur, founder of M-Taxi.
M-Taxi charges Rs 25 for the first three kilometres, followed by Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometre.