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Regulation will come in when carpooling gets popular in India – Raghav Gupta, BlaBlaCar

"We're an inter city carpooling platform, not a taxi service," Raghav Gupta, the India Country Manager at BlaBlaCar emphasises to MediaNama. BlaBlaCar is in a country where the sharing economy is being likened to the traditional transportation sector: Ola and Uber are seen from the lens of taxi services, and are in the process of being regulated as aggregators of taxi services. BlaBlaCar launched in India in January 2015, and says that in the first 18 months, 3 million seats were offered via the platform. The company has 40 million members globally, but Gupta doesn't want to share India specific data. Excerpts from our conversation with Gupta: People weren't familiar with carpooling Gupta: When we launched in India, long distance carpooling hadn't been launched by any other company, so the first thing we spent time on was educating people because honestly, sometimes people would wonder “is this a taxi service?” or “how do we ensure safety?” And third they'd wonder how we meet the person (the offerer of the seat) and do they pick me up etc. People had concerns about trust and safety. Over the last 18-20 months that we've been live in India, both of these are largely solved for and our focus is on continuing to build usage and get more people to start using BlaBlaCar when they travel long distance. A different value proposition in India, as compared to Europe Gupta: On the car owner's side, BlaBlaCar’s proposition is that they can save a significant amount of money…

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I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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