Saturday, March 15, 2008

Will carpooling be a social innovation in Indian metros?

It was interesting to read in TOI about how carpooling is catching up in Mumbai. The news said that Mumbai traffic police department along with a carpooling site has tied up with a private insurance firm, multiplexes and restaurants so that carpool members will get a discount on a variety of allied services. For example, you can avail of a 50% discount on cinema tickets at PVR multiplex outlets and free Pepsi and pop corn during intervals besides a 20% discount on beverages and food at all Cafe Coffee Day outlets, plans are now afoot to provide a discount for the car insurance premium for carpoolers. has got 1700 members and 560 groups who are using the site individually or as part of sharing group within a 70-80 km distance in the city and suburbs. 40% of the carpool users are working women who have a harrowing time traveling. But

We can see that a number of interesting factors have come together in the process:

  • There is government (police department) and private firm partnership
  • Mobile phones / sms are now ubiquitous and everybody is comfortable using SMS
  • In a metro like Mumbai, it is common to have commuting distance of 20 to 30km.
  • Best alternatives like train is painful during peak hours
  • On the demographic side, there is sizable population of working women

Will it really catch on? I hope it does but you can’t be sure about it yet. It will take at least a couple of years before one can say for sure.

Can this be replicated in a city like Bangalore? Not sure. Don’t know whether we have a sizeable population with long commuting distances. Almost all companies with at least 1000+ employees offer commuting bus/taxi services. What about Delhi? Perhaps yes.

1 comment:

  1. I think huge sprawling cities like Delhi and Mumbai would benefit the most from Carpooling. Bangalore is relatively compact, i would think...
    From the number of posts on a carpooling site like,, it might be safe to conclude that the trend is growing at a rapid pace