redBus, the world's largest online bus ticketing platform, Wednesday launched its new service -- rPool that allows office-goers to avail and offer rides while commuting between home and their workplace. "rPool, our new carpooling service, is a systematic solution not only to decongest roads but also to offer commuters a viable option that helps them save fuel and time," redBus CEO Prakash Sangam told reporters at PTI. With the right implementation and adoption at scale, carpooling can significantly reduce vehicular traffic during peak hours in urban cities, he said.
rPool is an advanced carpooling service on its platform which has been launched in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, he said. Sangam further said the 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 and cabs for the same distance," he added. As an inaugural offer, for each of the first 500 ride-givers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, redBus would be charging zero commission for the first five years, Sangam said.
The service allows participants the option of choosing the people they wish to travel with, based on their ratings, he said, adding that the platform also offers women ride-givers or takers to choose to travel with women alone, as an option.
The service can be accessed directly from within the redBus mobile app, Sangam said.
"It uses advanced technology to connect ride-givers and ride-takers in the fastest and most convenient manner possible," he said.
The matching algorithm ensures that ride-givers don't have to deviate or take any detours from their daily work route and ride-takers get to travel the maximum distance of their commute as a part of the shared ride, he added.
Replying to a query, Sangam said the service is restricted to working professionals undertaking daily commute to build a trusted community of ride-givers and ride-takers.
rPool emerges from the need to develop sustainable solutions for the burgeoning traffic and congestion problems that most Indian cities, endure on an everyday basis, he said.
The spurt in ownership of private vehicles over the last decade far outpaces the development of infrastructure needed to sustain them, resulting in severe cramming, impacting the quality of life, environment and the economy, he added.
According to multiple studies conducted, Indian cities are among the most congested in the world.
In Bengaluru alone, the percentage additional time taken to travel during peak hours is at 162 per cent compared to a 68 per cent additional time taken in Kaula Lampur or 79% in Jakarta.
Bengaluru's vehicle population has grown the fastest in the country, with over 8 million vehicles on its roads, resulting in some obvious problems associated with the phenomenon, such as slow speed, long queues at traffic signals and high levels of pollution, among others.
According to a report on 'Enabling Shared Mobility in India' published by NITI Ayog, carpooling is a form of ride sharing in which trips are shared by travellers but with the exception that the drivers are not considered "for hire", though they can receive some forms of compensation to recover their fuel cost.
redBus was founded in 2006 in India and today is the world's largest online bus ticketing platform.
redBus has globally sold more than 180 million bus tickets till date and has a customer base of around 20 million users. redBus is now part of the MakeMyTrip group (Nasdaq, MMYT) which is the largest travel aggregator in India.