Naspers owned online travel company Ibibo Group has launched a carpooling app called Ryde, reports TechCircle. Unlike some of its competitors like BlaBlaCar and Tripda, Ryde offers both intra-city and inter-city rides.
Passengers need to fill in a few details like travel route and time among others and submit, following which a list of drivers offering rides for the selected route is provided to the passenger. They need to select a particular driver, select the preferred seat and make payment, after which they can chat with the driver to decide a pick-up location. On the other hand, drivers need to enter details like starting point, final destination and price per seat and publish the ride. On receiving passenger requests, drivers can select the ones they like and at the end of the journey the money is transferred to their account.
Ryde allows users to check verified member profiles, send messages before or after booking requests, send chat messages, and real-time tracking of the driver and vehicle among others. Drivers can create custom preferences on waiting time, detour, luggage size, music, and smoking among others. The app is currently available for Android and iOS.
At present the service seems to be operational only in Delhi and a few neighboring cities.
Ridesharing services in India
The interest in ridesharing services has been on the upswing in India:
– Rocket Internet-backed ridesharing service Tripda also launched its operations in India, in November last year. It’s worth noting that earlier this year, Tripda raised $11 million funding from Rocket Internet and an undisclosed New York based ventures capital firm.
– Earlier this month, car rental company Carzonrent, which operates EasyCabs, acquired the rideshare startup Ridingo. At the time, Carzonrent had mentioned that it plans to scale the ridesharing service to 250 cities over the next five years.
Opportunity: Ridesharing or carpooling makes a lot of sense in most of the major Indian cities, where traffic congested roads and high fuel prices are increasingly turning the morning drive to work a nightmare. Public transportation is an option: the metro rail network in Delhi and Kolkata or the local train system in Mumbai are perfect examples, but cities like Bangalore or Pune don’t have a similar public transport system. It also needs to be mentioned that sharing a private car to work for Rs 50 is more tempting than travelling by public transport for a slightly lower price. Ryde also offers inter-city rides, which I think is an advantage as well. Take Bangalore for example, if and when the service launches in the city, it will find many takers for Bangalore-Mysore, Bangalore-Coorg, Bangalore-Chennai, and Bangalore-Coimbatore rides among others.
Challenge: The biggest challenge that ridesharing services like Ryde will probably face in the country will be gaining the trust factor of consumers, so that they feel comfortable enough to hitch a ride with a stranger and there are enough security precautions in place to avoid any untoward incidents. Note that the ride sharing model works out only when there are significant participants on the service.
Ridesharing services will also have to compete with the likes of Ola, Uber and TaxiForSure, which have deep pockets and can afford to offer rides at low rates. Interestingly, Uber does offer ride sharing in select markets, though the service is not available in India. While Ola has been expanding the scope of its services by entering the food delivery space, and now it looks the grocery delivery space as well. So, who’s to say they won’t enter the ridesharing space!