BENGALURU: When Gaurav Naik moved to Bengaluru from Pune for his IT job a few years back, little did he anticipate the traffic conditions in the city. “It takes one-and-a-half hours to commute the 11km between my home and office,” rued the Cognizant employee. Naik considered getting a two-wheeler but changed his mind.
“If I don’t have a two-wheeler, I would play my part in reducing pollution,” he said, adding, “So I considered carpooling instead.” Naik joined Quick Ride, a platform that allows riders and ride-takers to carpool.
Naik isn’t the only one in the city who thinks along these lines. According to KNM Rao, co-founder and CEO of Quick Ride, the platform has 1.5 million users across India, of which 1.5 lakh try using the app every day. “About 60 per cent of our total carpools occur in Bengaluru, amounting to around 50,000 successful carpool rides daily,” he said, adding that workers from IT firms like Cognizant, Tech Mahindra, Infosys and IBM are among its active users on the platform. “We see about 5,000 users from Wipro on a daily basis,” he added.
Infosys has about 3,000 employees in Bengaluru who rely on carpooling, said Aruna Newton, head of diversity and inclusion at the company. “Data from one vendor suggests that in January alone, we saw 1,367 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduction across eight company locations in India, along with Rs 4 crore saved on fuel,” she revealed. The focus for employees, however, is the convenience that carpooling provides, with last mile connectivity and non-fixed timings. “Most employees find the flexibility to be a convenience and when they realise that it’s more environmentally friendly, they are happier,” she explained, adding that people enjoy extra company during their commute as well.
Agreed Jaanam Haleem, a software professional at Wipro, who started accepting ride-takers through the platform in an attempt to reduce her carbon footprint. “Every morning, one of my regular ride-takers reads the news out loud to us. Sometimes, seniors advise us about work,” shares Haleem.
Apprehensions about safety while travelling with strangers are also put to rest since the users are added on the platform after verification. Plus, there is an emergency button in the app.
The options also prove to be cheaper, with costs varying from Rs 0-5 per km depending on the vehicle. Naik, who paid up to Rs 300 one way, now pays Rs 40-55 to his rider. Haleem too saves on fuel. “Since I take other riders too, I spend only Rs 3,000 per month as compared to the Rs 2,000 I used to spend per week,” she said.