Kochi: The carpooling trend is fast catching up with Kochiites with app-based cab aggregator Uber alone recording 25 per cent growth in its share taxi scheme ‘UberPOOL’ in the last three months. “UberPOOL has become the most demanded service which helps customers get upto 40 per cent discount in fares. We launched the share taxi scheme here in mid- September and clocked 25 per cent growth so far. We have a couple of lakh customers in the city while the fleet strength under the brand has gone upto three lakh across the country,” said Nitin Nair, General Manager, Kerala region, Uber India.
Software employees and college students are the two groups which mostly patronize the service. Here the rider need not worry about finding share partners because the app will facilitate it. Mostly four persons would be sharing a taxi under the scheme, the official said. It was rival ‘Ola’ which first launched the share taxi scheme in the city in October 2016 and found the response “heartening”.
What made the scheme successful is that the drivers are benefitting more than the hire service. “The average trips clocked by each driver operating under the scheme too have gone up, thereby helping them earn more. While UberPOOL has lots of takers in the city, Uber Hire is chosen by customers travelling some distance, say from the airport to other districts. We have a fixed slab of Rs 1,195 for trips to Kottayam, Thrissur and Alapuzha from here,” Nair said.
Citizens too have now started considering carpooling as an alternative to public transportation. “What made the carpooling services popular is the affordability factor, as low as Rs three per km. Earlier I had to pay Rs 130 when I opted for the app-based hiring service to travel from Infopark to Edapally. Now the share scheme allows me to travel the same distance for Rs 89,” said Anil S, a techie.
Uber now says it has plans to even launch its bike sharing service Uber ‘MOTTO’ in the future to ride on the trend.