French city-to-city carpooling company BlaBlaCar launches rides in IndiaEmmanuel Amberber
People who chronically depend on IRCTC tatkal booking may have another option. BlaBlaCar, a France-based ride sharing marketplace for city-to-city rides, launches in Delhi. Though India isn’t new to ridesharing, what BlaBlaCar is bringing is their decade worth operational experience.
This is how it works. Person A, who is driving from Delhi to Agra, can state his itinerary on BlaBlaCar’s platform. And person B, C, D, who want to ride along the same route, will share the ride and split the cost. BlaBlaCar plays a matchmaker between the involved parties by using Facebook Connect for identity management. BlaBlaCar handles the transaction and takes its cut of 10%-12%.
Raghav Gupta, Country Manager, BlaBlaCar India said, “With the limited capacity of public transportation and last minute travel options in India,BlaBlaCar offers an affordable, friendly, and efficient alternative. BlaBlaCar creates a unique space for car owners and co-travellers to get to know each other and make an informed choice about whom they want to travel with. For India’s 100 million Facebook users and 160 million plus smartphone users, this is a travel revolution.”
BlaBlaCar was founded by CEO Frédéric Mazzella, Nicholas Brusson and Francis Nappez 10 years ago – way before the term sharing economy was coined. The company is backed by ventures like Accel Partners, Index Ventures, ISAI and Lead Edge. India is BlaBlaCar’s 13th expansion destination; the company operates primarily in Europe – France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
According the Business Standard, Nicholas Brusson, Co-founder of BlaBlaCar, has said, “India has a lot to gain from community ridesharing. Smart, sustainable and social, it is win-win for both car-owners and co-travelers. Initially, we’ll not charge anything from users. This will remain a free service until we reach a scale and educate people about our service.” BlaBlaCar has offered the service in France for free for about four years. “India, with its young, highly connected population, and multiple major urban hubs separated by long distances, has great potential for ridesharing. Chronically overcrowded transport infrastructure forces travelers to book their train or bus tickets weeks in advance, while the high price of fuel makes long-distance car travel often unaffordable. BlaBlaCar will make last-minute, city-to-city travel both available and affordable. Car-owners will be able to offer seats to co-travelers so they can travel together and share fuel costs,” adds Brusson.
The travelers can get to where they want for cheap, and for the drives they can cover the ride cost. The app is available on Google Play and the App Store.
Once BlaBlaCar achieves a scale, travelers will be paying a transaction fee – about 10 per cent of the ridesharing cost. In the meantime, the company won’t be taking a cut. If BlaBlaCar scale up rapidly, this will give last minute intra-city travel planners an ample choice to make impromptu travel decisions -- quite handy for weekend gateway plans.
Car owners simply publish their car journey and connect with co-travellers of their choice:
-Publish your car journey in seconds
-Approve co-travellers if you like them
-Enjoy your car journey with great people, and share your driving costs
For people looking to travel it works just like a travel search engine:
-Search for a ride to your destination city, even last minute
-Check the profiles of the car owners offering a ride, and get in touch to request a ride
-Enjoy the journey together!
BlaBlaCar makes traveling with people fun. NYT says, “The company’s English name, which it uses regardless of the country where it operates, comes from how chatty people are when sharing journeys. If passengers do not want to talk during the trip, they can mark in their profiles that they are only ‘Bla,’ to denote that they are not looking for much conversation. Or they can go a full ‘BlaBlaBla’ if they are happy to chat throughout the trip.”
We’ve covered Rocket Internet backed Tripda’s launch in India the end of 2014, and since India allows 100% FDI in online marketplace, BlaBlaCar might find it easy to operate here, compared to Uber-like taxi apps, which are facing the regulatory heat.