Roundtable in Delhi Facilitates Dialogue on Ridesharing and Bus Aggregation
Organized by WRI India Sustainable Cities in partnership with CIIE, and supported by Shell Foundation and Hewlett Foundation, the New Mobility Accelerator, launched as part of CONNECTKaro 2016, will help businesses to build a strong value proposition and enable them to access funding to scale. The accelerator will host a number of roundtables and workshops to support new and innovative early stage businesses that are providing mobility-as-a-service and transforming urban transport in India.
To get a more comprehensive understanding of the regulatory vantage point across the country and to initiate a dialogue between agencies and aggregators, WRI India Sustainable Cities organized a roundtable on 4th April, 2016 and convened regulators, transit agencies, entrepreneurs and other relevant stakeholders from Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Bangalore. The roundtable was held for the Innovative Mobility Forum – a group facilitated by WRI India that works on sustainable mobility issues in Indian cities.
The participants included Smt. Suprabha Dahiya (IAS, Transport Commissioner and Secretary, Transport Department, Government of Haryana), Shri Sushil Sarwan (Regional Transport Office Gurgaon), senior staff members from BlaBlaCar, Ola, Uber, Baxi and Orahi as well as the Mumbai Auto rickshaw and Taxi Union and catalysts like CIIE - IIM Ahmedabad and Valoriser Consultants.
Simplifying Ridesharing through Stakeholder Engagements
Safety and security are the most important and critical aspects of ridesharing that are of concern to regulators. Some of the measures undertaken by stakeholders during the discussion include:
- Integration of government certified identification (driving license, Aadhar card or voter’s ID) in the user profiles prior accepting rides
- Use of OTPs (one time password) for authentication of phone numbers
- Partnerships with corporates to link corporate identities to profiles official email ids and LinkedIn profiles)
- Inclusion of feedback and rating mechanisms for owner-drivers and co-passengers
Stakeholders recognise the lack of a comprehensive ridesharing policy at a Central and State level. They emphasise the role of technology and the need for open transit data to enable companies to design better solutions.
Regulation should be simplified for entrepreneurs in order to encourage ridesharing among commuters with the intention of increasing vehicle occupancy and reducing congestion, in addition to ensuring service levels. In cities like Paris, ridesharing is used largely as a feeder service to public transport, thereby complementing public transport and not competing with it.
One of the key outcomes of the second roundtable was to create a working group including various stakeholders, to make recommendations on rideshare regulations for the government.
Facilitating a Dialogue on Bus Aggregation in Indian Cities
Bus aggregators have become extremely popular due to their affordable cost structure and the improved travel experience that they offer. They have also been instrumental in advocating shared mobility services. While some have taken a more progressive approach to integrate these services, the others have been facing stiff rebuttal from transit agencies in some cities.
Aggregators are playing an increasingly important role bringing about a modal shift from private vehicles to a more sustainable mode of transport, but there are concerns about regulation and contract carriage permits being used in place of stage carriage permits.
Public bus agencies have a social obligation to operate on loss making routes and subsidized fares. In addition, the private sector has limited resources and no access to grants or subsidies.
There is a need to develop collaboration models between players in the private and public sector.