Car pooling, sharing mini buses with strangers to reach one’s destination is a relatively new concept in India. But the popularity of such services is growing mainly due to the sorry state of public transport, especially in Delhi-NCR region.
While we have read about security incidents related to app-based transport services, people continue to prefer them. Now Ola, BlaBla Car and Shuttl are a few services that allow people to share car rides or mini buses with others on a fixed route. So, if you are looking to save money without compromising on comfort, here are four apps to help you.
BlaBla Car is a good option if you want to travel to a different city but cannot spend too much money on the ride. It lets you travel with two other people.
In the app, users can enter their location and destination, and the service will reflect a list of people who you can share the ride with. The service does not have any listed drivers. Users who wish to pool in with other people post sharing requests on the app.
One can reach Chandigarh from New Delhi for as low as Rs 550 per seat. Similarly, taking a BlaBla share ride from Noida to Green Park will cost you somewhere between Rs 30 to Rs 50.
The biggest advantage to the service is that one can comfortably reach his/her destination without having to change multiple public transports. It is well-suited for office-goers who intend to travel regularly and comfortably without shelling out too much money.
But the biggest drawback to the service is that users are only verified through their numbers, e-mail id and Facebook profile. None of these are fool-proof verification methods as far as identity goes. While the service has a process of rating user profiles after you’ve shared a ride, it really does not do enough to plug security concerns. Then there’s the issue of timing as well and at times the shared ride might be not available when you need them.
Shuttl offers short distance services for people who want to skip travelling in crowded buses or share autos to reach their desired locations. The start-up has already picked up well and functions on 15 routes in Noida and Gurgaon.
The good thing about the service is that only those people who have an authentication code generated on their mobile app can get on the Shuttl mini bus. The service limits the number of users to the number of seats available on the mini bus.
The air-conditioned mini buses mostly ply from metro stations to popular office areas nearby. Some of the popular routes include HUDA City Center metro station to Medanta, Sector-32, Noida City Centre to Fortis Hospital etc. The buses stops at fixed points to pick up other users en route. They charge a minimum of Rs 20 or more depending upon the distance.
Shuttl buses function at fixed timings and from Monday to Friday, which may not work out for some people. The service serves as another public transport but with better facilities and not many security concerns. Payment is done through an in-app wallet.
iBibo Ryde is a great app for local commuters who travel daily to a fixed destination. Unlike BlaBla Cars, the service offers very few cab sharing options for travelling to a different city. Users can avail rides or offer rides to other users and the availability and number of seats generally depends on car owner.
One can reach Gurgaon from Noida for about Rs 45. The service also runs offers points for earning free rides. Users have an option to either select a given vehicle and rider at the specified time or alter their travel schedule as well.
But like BlaBla cars, iBibo Ryde also does do any verification for its users. One can log-in from Facebook accounts and start offering cabs after entering mobile numbers.
Ola has a shuttle bus service, which it launched recently for Gurgaon and Noida. The service however is not fully operational and provides users with minimum pick-up and drop off options. The buses are air-conditioned.
Ola’s bus service is similar to Shuttl, the only difference being limited route options. These also ply on pre-fixed routes and at fixed timings. Keeping security concerns in mind, Ola does not allow a users mobile number to be shared with anyone. Also for selected cities, Ola records calls made by drivers to its customers.
Users are required to reach the destination they select well in advance. The bus sharing service can be a very good option for office folks, if the timings suit them.