Traffic jams in India, how Olacabs & Uber can help

Exploring solutions to minimise the traffic jams in India

As majority of the cities in India are unplanned, traffic jams are a big problem. And in case of metropolitan cities the problem is much more severe due to the population. Certainly these roads are not built and planned to accommodate this density of traffic. With time it will only get worse. Restructuring cities to accommodate the current traffic density could take years, and disrupt many lives.

Carpooling

Obviously everybody knows carpooling is probably the best solution to solve the traffic problem. All you need to do is put these “one person one car” people in one car depending on their sources and destinations. But why aren’t we able to put a reliable carpooling solution in place, even with all the new apps that allow you to carpool. Ola lets you carpool, and so does Uber. Why is it still so ineffective?

There are several challenges here, the possessive mentality towards cars, finding the right people to carpool with, safety of the people and the car, organising this and a million more issues. Trust between the driver and the seeker, happens to be one of the biggest challenges here.

But, how can you effectively carpool?

Using a smartphone app obviously. Ola, Uber, Lyft are all brilliant use cases of mobile applications, and so is Carpooling. But that still does not solve it. There already are so many carpooling applications. Some of which failed, some of which are still in operation. User adoption still remains the biggest problem.

People going to work, and coming back from work make the giant majority of traffic on the road. It’s a routine. We need to embed this in their routine? Like cultivating a habit. User awareness and willingness are of utmost importance here, but so is comfort.

Ola & Uber already have the resources and the structure required for putting carpooling in place. The core of this idea is in how to implement it.

Lets not roll it out to every individual out there. Lets cover this “one enterprise at a time”.

Core of the idea

Rolling out to one enterprise, allows us to get all their employees on-board. Now you’ve enabled your users to carpool with their co workers. This installs a bond of trust between the driver and the seeker. They will be much less hesitant carpooling with their co workers compared to some random stranger.

Bringing enterprises into scenario brings us to new and better possibilities. Once you’ve got a few nearby enterprises on-board, the users can choose to carpool with employees from other nearby enterprises as well. And now you have a community of trustworthy employees who can carpool within or outside their own enterprises.

Revenue Model

The application must be free for an enterprise which also encourages user adoption. You go to a company, tell them you’re gonna make your employees’ lives easier, solve the traffic problem while decreasing their carbon footprints for free. I don’t see any organisation having a problem with this.

The application generates revenue on the transactions from the users. The seekers pay the driver.

Main Features

These are a few of the main features I’ve got for this app which I believe can enhance it’s usability.

  1. Scheduled & Real Time Rides - A car owner can choose to schedule a ride like and alarm on repeat for every day of the week on a certain time and advertise this ride, or he can advertise his ride in real time, just the way Ola & Uber work.
  2. Groups - You’ve used the Whatsapp groups? Very similar to it. Every car owner can create groups of members they would generally prefer to carpool with. He can choose to advertise his ride only in this group if he wishes to.
  3. Filters - Allows the user to restrict the options for carpooling to a filtered few. Now this filter can be done on the basis of enterprise, or tech parks, whatever suits the user. And a women only filter, for women.
  4. Ride Back Home - Lets say someone carpooled to work, and cannot find a carpool back home. There needs to be a solution for the user to be dropped back home without any additional expense. The user must not regret not bringing his car. For companies like Ola & Uber, this could be easily covered.

How else can we increase participation?

Tax Benefits! Organisations and people who’ve contributed to reducing their carbon footprints above a certain threshold could be given some tax cuts. I cannot judge the feasibility of this as it doesn’t really look like traffic and environment are a primary concern for our government.

Traffic is an issue that is affecting all our lives, certainly making the environment worse for the future generations along with all the difficulties it causes.
We can ignore it, or we can do something about it. And if we don’t, who will?
This idea might be an effective solution, might not be. But unless we start thinking, we will never arrive at one.

Bringing this to reality would take a lot of collaborative effort. If you feel this idea has got potential, kindly go ahead and share this with people you know, and people who’d be interested. 
If anyone wants to discuss more on this, or would like to join hands in working towards solving this problem, write to me at “shashank.sahayy@gmail.com”.
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