A new carpooling service for intra-city commute, called rPool, has been launched by redBus, an online bus-ticketing platform. This new service allows office goers to avail and offer rides in their personal cars, while commuting between home and their workplaces, and is being offered in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. rPool can be accessed directly from within the redBus mobile app and has been developed with the objective of contributing to decongestion of cities.
rPool is a carpool solution for working professionals and uses advanced technology to connect ride givers and ride takers in a fast and convenient way. The matching algorithm ensures that ride givers don’t have to deviate or take any detours from their daily work route and ride takers travel the maximum distance of their commute as part of the shared ride.
Features of rPool:
- Verified profiles via multiple checks: In order to build a trusted community, rPool is restricted to working professionals. Users are verified through their mobile number and their organisation’s corporate email id.
- Safe and private: To ensure privacy, phone-number masking is used which enables users to connect with each other via the redBus app without revealing their phone numbers to each other. Ride takers on rPool will be provided accident insurance free of cost for each ride.
- Attractive incentives: Ride givers receive incentives in the form of reward points that can be redeemed at fuel stations and Amazon Pay. Ride takers pay much less than autos/cabs for the same distance.
- Inaugural launch offer: As an inaugural offer, for the first 500 ride givers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune each, redBus will charge zero commission for the first 5 years.
- User profiles and feedback mechanism: The platform allows creation of user profiles based on user reviews, allowing participants the option of choosing the people they wish to travel with, based on their ratings. The platform also offers women ride givers or takers the option to choose to travel only with women.
According to the company, rPool emerged from the need to develop sustainable solutions for the burgeoning traffic and congestion problems in Indian cities, which are among the most congested in the world. In Bengaluru alone, the additional time taken to travel during peak hours is 162 per cent. redBus believes in the concept of ‘shared mobility’ as a sustainable option to tackle this problem, with carpooling being the best solution to positively impact quality of life, environment, and the economy.
CB’s questions on safety features for women, process to ensure driving meets safety standards and adheres to traffic regulations, and background verification of drivers did not receive any response from the company.
In a press release, Prakash Sangam, CEO– redBus, said, ‘With the right implementation and adoption at scale, carpooling can significantly reduce vehicular traffic during peak hours in urban cities.’
Chaitanya Kanuri, World Resources Institute India (WRI India), said, ‘Technology-enabled shared mobility solutions like carpooling platforms have the potential to improve the efficiency and sustainability of urban transportation in our cities. By allowing three-four trips to be fulfilled by a single vehicle, carpooling can contribute to reduced congestion as well as lower GHG emissions and air pollution, for which transportation is a major source. Care must be taken, however, to ensure that ride givers on carpooling platforms are only permitted to share costs of fuel and vehicle use with other co-passengers without imposing any additional charges; this is in line with carpooling regulations in other countries like the US and France. WRI India is working with shared mobility enterprises and with government agencies to promote innovative mobility solutions that are integrated with urban transport networks and have a positive impact on the city.’