A survey shows that if 10 per cent of India’s 60 lakh working population used carpooling, at least 1.4 lakh litres of fuel would be saved each day. Now two engineers are trying to make carpooling an eco-friendly and viable alternative for working professionals in the city. Developed by two former Infosys employees, Rahul M. Jacob and Genoveva Galarza, RideIT is a carpool matching service exclusively for working professionals in the city.
Rahul, the co-founder of the company which recently won the World Summit Youth Awards 2014, says that especially in the IT area of the city, people either drive their own cars to work or use share autorickshaws which cram up to five-six people. “We wanted to create a platform through which we could move people from share autorickshaws and buses to the empty seats of cars,” says Rahul.
The idea was first pitched to the head of Infosys, Ravi Kumar, who liked it and helped the duo launch the carpooling service in the company. Today, 42 corporates and 5,100 registered users are associated with RideIT and over 150 people use the services every day. But one can only avail the carpooling service if his/her company’s name is registered on the RideIT website.
“We had our pilot launch in August 2013 where we presented the idea to 18 MNCs. Before the launch of our app in January 2015, we are hoping to at least have 100 companies registered with us. But unless we have contacted a company and offered our services, their employees can’t use them,” he says. The specifics of the website have been designed to ensure that it is not just affordable but also a safe option.
“We ask people who have their own cars to carpool at least twice a week because it helps a lot in reducing the city’s traffic. And depending on the kind of vehicle, its economy and the distance travelled, we have a fare calculator on the site, which carpoolers can use as it helps reduce their monthly expenditure as well.
“As far as safety is concerned, our partner companies do background checks before hiring people and we also have their details so even those with unsocial tendencies need to keep their habits on check, because otherwise they’ll immediately be caught,” he says. While Rahul takes care of the company partnerships in the city, Genoveva works from Madrid, Spain and manages the technical aspects of the website. She is also helping in getting the app built. They plan to keep RideIT as a free service for as long as they can.
Rahul adds, “We had won the Microsoft Youth Spark Award in 2013, so Microsoft is helping us build the mobile application. The other expenses were taken care of by the $10,000 we received as the winners of Social Business competition by the Ohio State University. We built our website to promote carpooling as a social initiative. And we would like to keep it that way.”...