Commuting comes of age with tech, new initiatives

Travelling in urban India is very stressful, because of the heavy traffic, bad roads, lack of timely public transport service, wrongful parking, unnecessary honking, pollution, erratic motorists driving and so on and so forth.

The reasons can be manifold, but how about some measures that can cheer up your day and not only make your commute convenient, but also lighter on your pockets.

With the concept of Smart Cities catching up, cities, citizens and corporates are coming out with new and innovative ideas to do their bit for the cities.

Uber, one of the largest transport network company, with services in 58 countries and 300 cities across the world, known for its cab hiring service, had last year launched UberPool service in the overseas. As the name suggests, car sharing for multiple riders on the same route.

The international taxi service provider, which launched its service in India two years back, has seen it's services spread across 22 Indian cities, the second highest number of cities outside the United States. According to media reports, the company's current base is of over 165,000 driver entrepreneurs and continued robust growth of 40 per cent month-on-month.

The company is now looking at strengthen its presence in the country with new innovative user friendly measures.

Uber's convivial twins

Early this week, Uber launched its 'UberPool' in India, by rolling out the services in Bengaluru, in beta mode (test mode).

This service allows users to split fares with another person who happens to be requesting a ride along a similar route, by sharing a ride together. The company claims that the shared fare could be so low, that people would find it more expensive to own and maintain their own personal car.

The UberPool feature is added as optional, wherein the customer can choose to share the ride and split the cost of travel alone. The app displays an option called POOL, on clicking it the app matches the user's requests with riders in the same direction to share the ride.

Uber Taxi

Additionally, Uber has announced a new technology-based innovative service for its drivers and riders in India – disguised phone numbers. This ensures that the call between the user and the driver is connected through a anonymous phone number, for pick-up, drop or coordination.

Especially in India, where safety of women is a major concern, they now don't have to worry about sharing their personal mobile number with unknown drivers.

Uber not alone

Talking about car pooling, then Uber is not alone. Earlier this moth, Meru Cabs too launched its 'Carpool' service across India. The company plans to introduce a margin fee incase the service is well established in future.

Similarly, Ola too is planning to launch 'OlaShare' in the coming days to compete with rivals in the industry.

Cashless Rickshaw Ride

Quarrelling over petty change with auto-rickshaw drivers will soon be a thing of past, with onset of newer payment apps for travel.

AGS Transact Technologies, a technology-based banking service firm has launched one such app called 'ON GO' which allows cashless travel for auto-riders in Mumbai. They have already tied up with 10,000 rickshaws in the suburbs of Mumbai, and soon plan to have around 25,000 on board by the end of October, 2015.

According to a Times of India news report, Ravi Goyal, chairman and managing director of AGS Technologies was quoted as saying “There is no minimum balance but users can upload a maximum of Rs 2,000 on the wallet (app). Commuters can make part payment from the app, and part in cash if required”.

The company is initially offering Rs 100 discount on fare for downloading the app.

'Ola Wallet' also offers similar cashless service for availing a auto-rickshaw ride, and gives Rs 100 cash-back for downloading the app.

Gandhigiri on the road

No HonkingWhile the carpool and cashless ride can make life easier, what about unnecessary honking on the street?

Well, Rotaract Club of KC College is very much on it, and conducting a awareness programme on noise pollution with its 'no-honking' campaign.

As a mark of respect to the traffic policemen, the students of the college are gifting them with 'ear plus' to confront the traffic noise while doing their duty.

On the other hand, the so-called offenders who honk unnecessarily are gifted roses in so-called 'Gandhigiri' style. The 'Gandhigiri'style is inspired from a Bollywood movie which uses the form of gifting roses as a mark of one's protest.

However, this particular campaign is not all about roses, as the students of the college will also be pasting stickers with an angry face 'Horn Shut Please' on the horns of some of the vehicles so that the offenders think twice before honking.

Also read:

How aggregators like Uber & Ola are smartening the city & life at the bottom of the pyramid

CISCO shaping Indian 'Smart Cities' the smarter way

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