Startups are leading the revival of carpooling led by the demand for safer ways and cost effective way to travel within India.
It aims in reducing the one-person per vehicle issue through collaborative effort of sharing a ride with another person heading in the same direction while offering convenience and economy of travel.
What’s happening in the sector?
Last month, Uber and Meru announced their car-pooling service to India. A pilot version of the UberPOOL service will begin in Bangalore which is already operational in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Austin and Paris. In fact, nearly half of all Uber rides in San Francisco are ‘POOL rides,’ the company said. Meru, one of India’s oldest radio taxi firms announced their service, called CarPool.
There are other startups who are competing along with Ola and Uber, that includes MoveInSync Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd that raised venture debt from InnoVen Capital in July, Online travel group Ibibo had launched a carpooling app named Ryde in April, PoolCircle, MeBuddie, CarPoolAdda, Zify, Poolmyride, Rapido and Let’s Ride. International companies like Brazil-based Tripda and French company Blah Blah cars entered the Indian market this year, which is still fragmented and in the nascent stage.
How does this market look?
The car pooling segment is estimated to be around $15 billion, a figure that is projected to hit $335 billion by 2025 according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers report.
According to recent survey undertaken by Regus, a global workplace solutions provider, 26% of commuters in India spend over 90 minutes per day travelling to work and meetings. In addition, about 16% of all commuters drive to work on their own and on average, 67% of respondents drive to work using their car, thus indicating the huge potential for carpooling among commuters.
With fuel prices hovering between Rs 65 and Rs 75 across India, an average office commuter spends Rs 75,000 to Rs 90,000 per year on fuel. With carpooling, it can be reduced by 20 percent, which translates to a saving of around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per annum.
What the future holds?
With large International players entering this market, funding will not be a big problem to get. Investors have shown interest in this sector since last few months.
WestBridge Capital-backed Carzonrent India Pvt Ltd, which runs radio cab services besides offering self-drive car rental and fleet management services, recently acquired Bangalore-based 42 Solutions Pvt Ltd, which runs a ride sharing app RidingO.
Accel Partners and Index Ventures-backed online carpooling venture BlaBlaCar forayed into India in January while Rocket Internet-backed carpooling firm Tripda entered the country last year.