Radio taxi company Meru Cabs has launched ridesharing features on the platform, starting with Delhi. Users booking a Meru Cab will be provided with an option of sharing their ride with other passengers travelling in the same direction and offer a fixed 30% discount on the estimated trip fare.
The company mentions that each rideshare trip can take a maximum of 2 bookings per ride and a maximum of 2 passengers per booking, which totals to a maximum of 4 passengers. Users will be able to continue using Meru Cabs’ emergency features allowing passengers to share details of their location to a registered emergency contact.
Interestingly, last month Meru Cabs had partnered exclusively with Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), to promote carpooling. IOCL and Meru would inform people about the latter’s Carpool through an option in the Meru Cabs’ app, which would allow regular office goers or car users and share their ride with people going in the same direction.
Meru funding: In March this year, Meru Cabs raised $50 million (about Rs 300 crore) from existing investor India Value Fund Advisors. At the time, the Mumbai-based company claimed to have a fleet of about 12,000 cars, of which it directly owned about 6,000. This is unlike Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber that are merely aggregators of taxi service providers and don’t directly own any of the cars.
Rising popularity of ridesharing: Recently, online cab aggregator Ola launched a private carpool category on its app in Delhi NCR, which lets car users create groups and pool rides via the app. It had also launched Ola Share, the company’s ride sharing service, in Mumbai, after initially launching in beta in Bangalore in October last year.
In September, Uber announced that it will launch its car-pooling product UberPOOL in Bangalore in beta, while ridesharing app BlaBlaCar raised $200 million in a series D round of funding from various investors. In April Carzonrent had acquired Ridingo to provide ridesharing services. Other than this, Rocket Internet-backed Tripda (primarily operates in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi) and Ibibo’s Ryde (currently operational only in Delhi and a few neighboring cities) provide such services.
MediaNama’s take: The country could definitely do with a higher adoption rate of carpooling (and possibly help in slowing down the rise in global temperatures). It’s not just Delhi which has been grappling with pollution, neighbouring country China just got issued a red alert. Despite the fact that India has 18 cars per 1,000 people (as of 2011, issues with car jams and China notwithstanding), the resulting pollution causes not only in financial but also health losses. Culturally, it might take some time for people to start using the service in India, given our trust issues (totally legit), but will totally be worth it.
Our Meru Cabs coverage here.