"Users are choosing to travel with the same set of people enforcing car bubbles in travel,” says Lakshna Jha, co-founder, sRide
Hyderabad: One has heard of bio-secure bubbles in IPL, India tour of Australia, the US Open and other sports events. Among other features, the bubble permit only authorised sportspersons, support staff and match officials to enter the protected area. And now, the same concept has found its way among carpoolers who see it as an ideal way of protecting themselves against Covid-19. Carpoolers are now forming their own car bubbles to travel with the same set of people regularly and avoid exposure to strangers.
“Our platform shows users a list of people that they have travelled with previously. They are marked as friends. Users are choosing to travel with the same set of people enforcing car bubbles in travel,” says Lakshna Jha, co-founder, sRide, which offers carpool platform in multiple cities including Hyderabad.
According to Jha, Covid and the subsequent work-from-home norms dented the confidence among people particularly when it comes to travel. “Many are avoiding travel. In cases where they can’t avoid travel, they prefer to move together with people they know or trust,” she explained about why a carpool has advantage over other public transport systems.
“In public transportation, one really does not know if the person next to you is vaccinated or not or has any Covid symptoms. In a carpool, there is an element of trust and is not difficult to discuss issues relating to health,” Jha told Telangana Today, adding that about 80 per cent of the carpool users now prefer to travel with ‘friends’.
Commute apart, car bubbles are also being used for leisure, sport or to upgrade work skills using its newly launched feature, neighbour, she said. “This trend of travelling with a known set of people will continue till more people are vaccinated. The number of people using carpools is increasing and partner companies are conducting drives to get people back to the office,” she said.
The tariff has been hiked recently by 15 per cent to accommodate the fuel price increase. “The tariffs for a carpool are about 20 per cent of a taxi and about 40 per cent of taxi pool,” she said, adding that the number of riders have increased by about 40 per cent now compared to February. Earlier, the average ride was 15km per day and it has now increased to 18-19 km per day. The current tariff is Rs 4.5 per km.
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