The Delhi government’s odd-even traffic rule compounded by Supreme Court’s ban on diesel cars and SUVs with engine capacity of over 2000cc have opened doors for startups offering commuting services.
Carpooling, self-drive, and on-demand service providers are set to provide alternative modes of transportation to commuters when the odd-even trial will be conducted in Delhi. Private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on odd and even dates from January 1 to 15, in the government's bid to battle the increased pollution levels in the capital city.
In an effort to make self-drive more accessible and convenient during a time of heightened traffic woes in the city, Zoomcar is all set to expand its doorstep services to Delhi. The company is exploiting the new odd-even rule and encouraging the idea of renting cars for the daily commute.
It has designed special packages such as Zoom Commute for corporates and office commuters looking for an economical weekday commute option.
Greg Moran, CEO and Co-Founder, Zoomcar, says, “Self-drive is today seen as a green alternative to owning cars as it increases the functionality of cars, which end up being used only when it is absolutely necessary, thereby bringing down the overall number of cars on the road. Our professional teams also ensure that the maintenance of the vehicles is up to date, thereby alleviating the problems of vehicle management and pollution from the customer's mind. We see this as a suitable option to check Delhi's growing traffic concerns.”
Another player in the segment, Revv, observes the surge in booking during the days of the odd-even trial to be an advantage. “Self-drive, carpooling, and shuttle services will tend to gain. During this time, the booking demand has already been augmented by 30 percent,” says Karan Jain, Co-founder, Revv.
He adds that he will observe the demand at the real-time and extend the services to the carpooling segment as well accordingly.
Besides car, autorickshaw service providers are also looking to gain from the developments. One such company is Jugnoo, an on-demand auto-rickshaw platform which also provides hyperlocal delivery services for food and groceries via its own network of autorickshaws.
Samar Singla, CEO and Co-founder, Jugnoo, says, “A lot of people already depend on autorickshaws. We have about 1,000 autorickshaws in Delhi and would be happy to contribute to cater our services to the people. We would also be collaborating with the government and Poocho App service. For Jugnoo, this rise in demand means more opportunity to cater to, so we will continue to focus on increasing our fleet for more reliable and consistent service.”
He adds that with technology-driven autorickshaw aggregators, more and more customers realise how convenient the whole process of hailing an auto has become, as opposed to the earlier conventional, time-consuming process.
Uber, Ola, BlaBlaCar, Shuttl, and many other platforms, too, have planned to take advantage of the business opportunity, when half the cars go off the road in the state capital.
After Bengaluru, Uber is introducing carpooling service in Delhi. Ola has introduced Ola Share, where customers can travel with members of social groups they are part of, without having to share their ride with strangers. In a move to push the government’s trial, Shuttl has launched a website called oddevenbyshuttl.com, a platform which provides information on the odd-even rule in Delhi.
These efforts from startups will surely help car commuters find an alternative in the coming days. However, it’s not going to provide a complete solution and Delhi requires a more robust transport system to accommodate the lakhs of extra commuters.
Meanwhile, in a new development, the neighbouring Gurgaon road and transport authority has stopped Shuttl and Ola Shuttle services in the city.
In order to allow startups to provide innovative solutions to problems, the government should formulate clear guidelines and policy instead of creating hurdles in their way.