A senior government official said that the Ministry of Road Transport has signed draft guidelines for ride-sharing by private car owners that will mandate KYC for users and restrict the maximum number of rides taken per day to four. The draft will soon go to the public for comment, the official told ET. There are fundamental carpooling rules that can be enforced at their own discretion by state governments." The Centre wants to ensure that carpooling is carried out on a non-profit basis without loss."
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Union will soon issue national guidelines on shared mobility, focusing on pooling private car owners' services, tackling congestion, and decongesting metro services. It is also expected that a structured structure, anchored by the Centre, can provide clarification for app-based services such as Easy Trip, redBus, and BlaBlaCar, on the basis of which they will broaden the reach of services and introduce state-wide uniformity of rules and thus reduce regulatory barriers. Last year, the Centre agreed to roll out the rules for a wider structure involving taxi aggregators. Nevertheless, it was postponed because of Covid, the official said. An individual driving his personal car may give rides to those traveling on the same road, reducing the cost of commuting. Ride-hailing apps such as Ola and Uber can also provide carpooling, which would, however, have to provide a separate platform for this. Uber has a 'commute' service to save time, money, and the environment, pairing pairs of neighbors and co-workers commuting along similar paths, Uber said in a September 1 blog post.
Discussions with states and other stakeholders have been concluded by the transport ministry. A non-commercial venture will be the service offering, and there will be a limit on the number of rides provided by the owner of the vehicle Ramesh Kailasam, chief executive officer of IndiaTech, a think tank, said India urgently needs an encouraging national-level regulatory prescription that can be adopted by states. "While it is important to have safety and security elements, monetization should also be encouraged by such a policy to make it viable," Kailasam said.
IN INDIAN CITIES, CAN CARPOOL MINIMIZE POLLUTION AND CONGESTION?
Cities around the world have defined motor vehicles as a major contributor to poor air quality in response to the burgeoning issue of air pollution. Cities are piloting steps to move people to public transport and limit single-occupancy vehicles in urban centers to tackle this issue. Since December 2016, for instance, several trials have been launched in Paris, ranging from a bid to make public transport free to the introduction of vehicle restriction measures. Indian cities have become known for poor air performance. A 2016 report by the World Health Organization found that half of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in India. In December 2015, Delhi reported 295 micrograms/m3 of PM 2.5 (as per the Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research System), which is almost 15 times higher than the 20 micrograms/m3 protection limit of the World Health Organization. As there is no formal system for providing pollution warnings to residents, a recommendation was released by the National Green Tribunal to warn people of extreme air pollution and to prescribe a reduction in spending time outdoors.
CARPOOL PLATFORMS' DEVELOPMENT
Shared rides between people, particularly for commutes to work or to school, are not a new concept. Such agreements have traditionally been guided by barter or cost-share. Although such informal agreements have existed for years, the industry has been dramatically formalized by the rise in smartphone penetration. Having a ride begins with a mobile app or website for a commuter who is looking to carpool. Ride-seekers reach their source and destination points of travel. And within minutes, in a perfect situation, the device matches a ride-seeker with a ride-giver who moves in the same direction. Rides can be shared within a city and even between cities for long-distance trips.
CARPOOL EFFECT DURING THE ODD-EVEN SCHEME
The January 2016 process of the odd-even scheme resulted in a 20 percent decrease in PM 2.5 during the day and a 5.4 percent rise in average vehicle speed, suggesting a reduction in congestion, according to a report by the University of Chicago. While the effect of carpooling cannot be excluded from these figures, we can see that during the scheme there was a substantial increase in carpooling activities. In the April 2016 phase of odd-even, according to Blablacar and Orahi, there was a rise of 25 percent and 350 percent of rides made on their websites, respectively.
ANSWERS TO MIXED APPROACH TOWARDS CARPOOL
In India, carpool companies have received a mixed response from the local government. People are urged to carpool by a variety of traffic police organizations. The Traffic Police and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, for example, endorsed Let's Drive Along, a carpool app, in Bengaluru, a city with 60 lakh vehicles on the road. The Police Department and IIT Kharagpur are also working in Kolkata with the Welfare Association of Pool Car Operators to facilitate carpooling where buses are not available. However, the legality of such models remains a gray area, since Section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act does not include provisions for carpooling.
A draft proposal for taxi policy guidelines was published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in December 2016. An addendum to this proposal by Niti Aayog, the Government of India's leading policy think-tank, championed the pooling or sharing of private cars through suitable app-based solutions and urged MoRTH to announce a specific policy setting out the system's parameters and regulations. The influence of models like technology-enabled carpooling continues to grow in Indian cities, where the share of non-motorized and public transport has traditionally been strong. When we think of the influence of carpooling models, some major questions still need to be addressed.