Indian roads are congested, this is not something you didn’t know all this while. But if you have to guess a comparison percentage with other major cities in Asia, what would be your best guess? 50% or maybe 80%? If that was your guess too, then, you’re really underestimating the traffic in India.
The top four cities in India are 149% more congested than other major cities in Asia. Traffic congestion is certainly not just a personal wastage of time but financial too. These traffic congestions are causing India losses of over $22 billion per year in peak traffic hours. Isn’t that just sitting-in-the-signal-scrolling-through-the-phone fantastic? (Friends, anyone!). Owing to all these and numerous other reasons, countries all over the world are stressing on ‘Shared Mobility‘.
Shared Mobility – What is it?
We have all been witnesses and product of the rapidly evolving transport industry. From ride-hailing to ride-sharing to development of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles have paved way for a new technological revolution. Shared mobility as the name conveys is the practice of sharing any mode of transportation on a need basis. It actually is not just the movement of people and goods but sharing of resources associated with the movement.
Public transport is the biggest example that shared mobility is not a new concept but has been existent in society for ages. However, the current advancement in the transportation realm is redefining shared mobility as not just a transport option but a preferred choice as to how people/travelers should be getting around.
Types of Shared Mobility
A common misconception regarding shared mobility is that it is restricted solely to public transportation. That is not the case. Shared mobility can be exercised by using the asset simultaneously or independently.
“Shared Mobility has been around years it is only the current transportation crises that have led more inclination towards adoption of shared mobility.“
Simultaneously shared mobility refers to the use case when multiple users are using the same asset at the same time, say, public transport. An Independent use case is when users use an asset for mobility through temporary access such as cab services.
This may sound complicated but isn’t. When multiple users use a means of public transport – trains, buses or/and even ferry, they’re simultaneously assisting in shared mobility. Similarly, when you book a cab, you’re contributing independently in shared mobility. As in the latter, you’re independently using an asset for a temporary time interval.
Let’s take a look at different types of shared mobility and how it can assist users in mobility:
Mass Transit or Public Transportation
Mass Transit is high capacity vehicles which are either run by public institutions or contract-based private agencies. These comprise of trains, metros, buses and shuttle services. Note, these shuttle services are usually run by private agencies bounded by contract protocols with the government. Mass Transit vehicles can move as many as 10,000–25,000 people per hour as compared to private vehicles that have a mobility capacity of 600-1000 people per hour.
India already has a large share of government transportation (buses and trains) with an average mode share of 30% in towns over 5 million inhabitants. While these statistics indicate a large share of buses, users of public transit are declining. This is partly due to an increasing middle class that can afford private cars, increased availability of end-to-end transport mediums such as auto-rickshaws, ride-hailing services, and the absence of sufficient ability for public transit.
Ride-sourcing is on-demand facilities that connect riders with drivers who use their personal vehicles as commercial vehicles. These services use direct payment through internet platforms to connect drivers with riders. These facilities work on routes which are usually not connected through public transit, thus, providing end-to-end connectivity. Cab services such as Meru, Uber, and Ola come under the ride-sourcing gamut. Ride-sourcing services are often given in Indian cities by cars or auto rickshaws.
Transport network operations are expanding quickly across the globe. Cab ridership in India soared four-fold from 2015 to 2016, serving around 70 million journeys a month. The 2018 statistics indicated that this figure accounts for 66 billion kilometers of vehicles traveled.
Transport network companies also provide users with ride-sharing options. Cabs and private buses providing sharing options where additional riders can be added along the same route, thus, filling the empty seats. This mode of ride-sourcing is called ride-splitting. As the name suggests, riders split fares and the cost of travel is lesser then ride-sourcing, however, the time of travel is more here.
Ridesharing – Carpool
Carpooling also known as car-sharing, ride-sharing or lift-sharing is a simple process of sharing one’s car with people traveling on the same route. In Ridesharing travelers share trips, but unlike ride-sourcing, the drivers here are not considered “for-hire,” although they may receive some forms of compensation to recover their costs. This compensation can be in terms of shred fuel costs and toll charges. Quick Ride, India’s biggest carpooling app say for example makes use of fuel points called Quick Ride points for compensation.
Short-term bike rentals have gradually gained public support and more and more online companies have started their operations. These bikes can be rented for individual periods ranging from an hour or more (periods ranging from a single trip to several days, to annual membership). Public bike-sharing enabled by internet provides real-time information about the place and request for bicycles at docking stations in real-time. Yulu Bikes, Bounce are some companies using these model; of transport.
A service that gives members access to a car for periods of less than a day. Major business models for car-sharing include traditional or round trip. This requires consumers to borrow and return cars at the same place. Most operators also offer one-way or free-floating, allowing customers to pick up a vehicle at one place and drop it off at another place. Zoomcar, Drivezy are such operators.
Microtransit relates to private businesses running shared vehicles where drivers and riders are connected through apps. Drivers here are employed directly by businesses or people directly.
Shared Mobility and its Benefits
Shared Mobility allows better connectivity by increasing efficiency and better asset utilization. Private vehicle increase congestion as these privately owned vehicles are not fully utilizing their seating capacity. Let’s look at the short term as well as long term goals that can be achieved in the transport industry from shared mobility.
By reducing vehicle downtime and using vehicles, primarily cars to their maximum seating capacity, cities can promote enhanced use of assets with a focus on moving people, not cars.
Shared mobility can thus help in reducing the number of vehicles on the road, which in turn can reduce congestion, save time, fuel, and money. There is no fixed solution that can guarantee de-congestion but shared mobility is a move in the correct direction. It can help meet the increasing road space demand.
Reduced Transport Cost
As mentioned earlier, in shared mobility, users pay for on-demand transportation as per the need. The different types of shared mobility modules provide users with an opportunity to monetize and make efficient use of underutilized assets.
Solution for Urban Density Problems
Public transport provides mass connectivity, allowing private operators through shared mobility can guarantee end-to-end connectivity. This can help solve the issues of urban density by benefiting both traveling individuals as well as municipalities. Shared mobility and its assets can help create a global mobility ecosystem which can ensure a well-managed and well-controlled mobility system
Flexibility of End-to-End Connectivity
Bringing different assets of sharing mobility under the expanding umbrella of the internet allows real-time mobility. Users can now plan their end-to-end journey, ensuring door-to-door arrival by linking themselves with these assets of shared mobility. The possibilities are endless. You can plan your entire trip to Europe including your macro and micro-transit, ride-sharing and ride-sourcing while sitting here in India. This flexibility is the jist of shared smart mobility.
Save the Environment
Lesser vehicles on the road mean lower pollution, lesser carbon footprint, and more greenery. Companies are promoting carpool inside their campuses to help create a greener environment. Government has been taking up initiatives such as odd and even car days in Delhi to reduce the CO2 emission. Along with this, more support is needed from the government to promote shared mobility as a part of the global mobility ecosystem.
Reduction in Fuel Consumption
The economy of vehicle fuel for internal combustion engines (ICE) is growing, driven in part by domestic norms, technological improvements in drivetrain technology and consumer behavior. A substantial decrease in fuel consumption can be accomplished in a shared mobility structure with fewer kilometers traveled, with consequences for fuel imports and domestic power safety.
How Quick Ride, carpooling is fulfilling all objectives for Shared Mobility?
There are many notable actions being taken to achieve shared mobility. One of the most remarkable performer Quick Ride, India’s biggest carpool and bike pool platform has overshadowed the rest and made carpool a hit in India. With over a million carpoolers and more than 70,000 carpools every day, Quick Ride, is creating a functional ecosystem that is helping commuters with an efficient, convenient and affordable commute option.
Quick Ride has set an ambitious target of reaching a million carpools per day across India by 2020 which in itself is a remarkable objective. To increase the availability of carpool and bike pool to users, Quick Ride is putting an impetus on expansion in Tier I, Tier II and even Tier III cities in India.
Quick Ride app makes efficient use of the internet by providing users with real-time information. This is a big step as Quick Ride is working towards changing the behavioral aspect of the consumer market. Using the app for ride-hailing services to making efficient use of technology for ride-sharing is in itself a huge leap for shared mobility.
Users have the option to pay for their ride using Quick Ride points, thus fulfilling the cost asset. The fuel cost can be redeemed for fuel which allows ride givers to focus primarily on the fuel sharing aspect of carpooling. Talking about roads, parking spaces, toll charges – carpool assures that all the assets are equally shared by the users, hence, rendering shared mobility in a fully circular approach without any cornerstones or blocks.