KOCHI: For Infopark employees, who were dogged by transportation woes, the concept of carpooling or ride sharing came in as a revolution. Tucked away at the far end of Kochi at Edachira, the lack of a public transport system daunted the IT park staff who probably pioneered the trend of carpooling in Kochi in 2016.
Three years later, the concept has proved to be a viable and economical option and major service provider Quick Ride has decided to take their services beyond the confines of Infopark. Buoyed by their success in Kochi, Quick Ride began offering services to office-goers a few days ago. Another application, BlaBlaCar, too is finding a rise in the number of takers, especially in the wake of recent inter-state bus strike.
Boons of carpooling
Kodungalloor-based Binoy Xavier, who returned from the US to join TCS at Infopark two years ago, was in for a surprise when he realised the lone bus from his hometown to Infopark was taking over two hours to reach the destination. “It was then I decided to try out this concept. At first, it was with the help of apps like Quick Ride and Convoy. Soon we began forming WhatsApp groups. At present, there are 30 members and four cars shuttling between Kodungalloor and Infopark alone. The system has been beneficial and being techies, we have improvised the concept. Today, it works perfectly,” says Binoy.
While the system offers a hassle-free journey, it also helps cut down on carbon emission and avoid traffic snarls in front of the IT park where most offices start shift at the same time. Quick Ride says they could cut down 200 tonnes of carbon emission over the last one-and-a-half years in Kochi alone. “Though we don't make monetary gains, the system helps us save the travel expense. The bonus, of course, is the camaraderie we share over the long journey,” adds Binoy.It's the success of the trend which now prompted Quick Ride to spread its wings.
Safety fears overcome
Says Quick Ride Kerala head R B S Mony, “The concept of ride sharing has met with success in Infopark and Technopark. People have wholeheartedly welcomed it. While many were apprehensive about the idea of carpooling in a place like Kochi where there were safety issues, we offered a system of verification. A user has to use his office address and ID to log into our app. This ensures only genuine people are included.”
He added the feedback has been great. “There are over 6,000 new subscribers after the plan to move out of Infopark was announced. We have decided to include companies like BPCL, major banks and DP World.”