NEW DELHI: Cab hailing app Uber today said it will now allow private car owners in the city to offer rides to passengers, a move that will help the US-based firm meet the heavy demand expected once the state government implements its odd-even formula.
Introduction of the new feature from December 16 will also allow Uber to tap into a pool of over 27 lakh private cars in the city and make travel 10-30 per cent cheaper for passengers opting to share rides.
"We don't need more cars on the road, what we need is better utilisation as a number of seats go vacant in a ride. Using our platform, private car owners can offer rides to others and thus reduce congestion and pollution in the capital over time," Uber North India General Manager Gagan Bhatia told PTI.
Fares for shared riders will be 10-30 per cent cheaper, he added.
The Delhi government will implement its much debated odd-even car scheme from January 1, 2016, allowing vehicles with license plates ending with odd and even numbers to ply on alternate days.
The scheme will be reviewed after first 15 days and then the government will study its impact and decide if the plan will be extended further or not.
In October, Uber had inked an agreement with the Punjab government to run a pilot to test peer-to-peer ride-sharing.
While ride sharing in private cars is an evolved concept in the US market for cab hailing companies, the trend is yet to pick up in India. Currently, Uber only has drivers with commercial licences on board in India.
Uber has over 2.5 lakh registered driver partners on its platform in India and is present in 22 cities, the highest in any country outside the US.
The company, which competes with Ola and other cab companies like Meru in India, has ride sharing facility available in Bengaluru as well as other international cities like San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Austin, and Paris.
On the Uber app, users will now be presented with two options under 'UberGo' when they key in their destination - whether they want to share the ride or travel solo along with the estimated price for both.
The service will be available between 0700 hours and 2100 hours.
If they select the carpooling option, Uber pairs them with another passenger or fellow commuters who are driving themselves towards the same direction.
"We are launching our car pooling service in Delhi on December 16 as part of the government’s drive to cut congestion and pollution in the city.
"Uber's product safety features will be on before, during and after the ride - such as the ability to see your driver's details in advance, GPS tracking, share my journey, the HELP button in case of an emergency and two-way feedback," he said.
Bhatia further said that like in the case of commercial vehicles, private car owners registering on the platform will have to submit identification documents.
He cited the example of international cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where car pooling is a common transport option.
"In the first eight months in LA after we launched our carpool service, passengers did over five million car pool trips, cutting the number of kilometers driven across town by 12.7 million and carbon dioxide pollution by 1,400 metric tonnes," he added.