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Coming soon carpool for Delhi, NCR

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Sep 15, 2009 | From the print edition

-- Will people risk giving ride to strangers?



car owners in Delhi may be able to save up to 50 per cent travel cost by sharing rides under a citywide carpool
scheme proposed by the Delhi transport department aimed at decongesting the city.

People who register with the Pan City Mega Carpool (pcmc) scheme can get in touch with other car owners taking
the same route as them. A web-enabled programme helps them network with other car owners with similar travel plans on a daily basis. Those
who give a ride get mileage credit that can be redeemed by availing a ride from any member of the carpool.

Members who opt for the scheme would be issued smart cards and would have to get their cars fitted with a device that has an ID-card reader, a
global positioning system and a general packet radio service.

Limiting cost will work

Rs 2,700 one-time initial payment and Rs 300 recurring monthly payment is the maximum cost car owners joining the scheme would be willing to bear, survey analysis showed.

The rider has to tap his smart card on the device that will then transmit the
rider/driver information and shared-ride route details to a central server. The server will log the travel details and send automatically generated
sms to both persons on their phones.

As an incentive, the pcmc scheme would offer value added services to members like stolen vehicle tracking
service, insurance discounts and help to retrieve vehicles in case of breakdown. The scheme is awaiting approval of the Delhi cabinet. The usual
car pools suit only a limited number of car owners. But the pcmc scheme does not require fixed travel schedules or
partners. Once it becomes operational, it will cover the whole city and possibly areas like Gurgaon and Noida, so chances of getting shared rides
are much higher, said Vishwa Mohan, joint commissioner in the transport department. Credentials will be verified before giving membership to
ensure safety of car users.

Many car users endorsed the shared ride scheme in a survey carried out by the department in May and June this year. Saroj Sahoo, a software
professional staying in Gurgaon, said the scheme might not work as people do not like to give rides to strangers. S Velmurugan, expert at the
Central Road Research Institute, said gps equipped taxis and autorickshaws should be pooled before private
cars.

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