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Old 15th July 2014, 15:58   #1
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Default BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

In the recent past, we have witnessed entry of several radio taxi services in India, which have improved the transport experience for commuters. Now, French startup company BlaBlaCar is considering an entry in India, with its unique business model.

BlaBlaCar is an online ride sharing platform which connects people who have a common destination, so that they share a ride and reach their destination, in a cost effective manner. This ride sharing is mainly for long distances where users find others travelling to the same location, on the company's website, and end up sharing the cost of their trip, by travelling together.
This Paris based company, founded in 2006, recently raised $100 million to expand its operations to emerging markets such as India, Brazil and Turkey, as well as to 12 European countries.

BlaBlaCar is currently active in Russia, Germany, Poland and eight other European countries. The company already has 250,000 members in Russia, in less than 6 months.

In India, services with a similar business model such as RidingO and SmartMumbaikar are already active for short distance commutes. It will be interesting to understand how BlaBlaCar will position themselves in India to gain trust of prospective users of the service.

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Last edited by S2!!! : 15th July 2014 at 16:04.
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Old 16th July 2014, 09:56   #2
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Default re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

I checked their website and searched for a ride from London to Manchester. I saw many high end cars listed Audi A4, BMW 520 etc... May be, as a hobby, one can offer a service like the 'Transporter' series with a filmy set of rules.

On a serious note, over long distances, do I trust my life with the driving skills of an unknown person. No.
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Old 16th July 2014, 13:22   #3
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

Related Thread: Car Pooling (The Car Pool Thread)

Existing ride share services are struggling in India and I doubt this sector will ever pick up. There's an inherent lack of trust with strangers and our culture isn't known for courtesy or punctuality. We all have friends who insist they're "10 minutes away" when it's more like 30. Then, due to the high crime rate and poor law & order situation, I'd be wary of sharing a ride with someone I don't know.

On the other hand, car pooling with your friends, family & neighbours is
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Old 16th July 2014, 14:28   #4
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

I agree with GTO - was about to say the same thing.

If the other man is not courteous and punctual, I would not be comfortable waiting for an hour to accommodate his last minute meeting. Most have a tendency to prioritize office work even when departing for a vacation. Most people do not push back on office work even when departing.

Almost everybody who drives solo can afford to drive solo. I only see an environmental benefit it car-pooling, which saves the environment but this puts me in a very vulnerable risk of travelling with strangers. If my co-passenger turns out to be a goon, no one will even sympathize with me. Everyone will blame me for taking a stranger.

Secondly, Indian Motor vehicle law does not permit sharing with strangers. If one is supposed to ferry unknown passengers, the vehicle must be registered as a tourist carriage yellow board. White board is meant for personal familiy/colleagues use. The owner/driver is responsible for all occupants and their baggage. If one stranger carries a bomb or some contraband in my car, The owner will be harrased and jailed. The contraband carrier will be released on bail using some contacts.

I dont promote this service at all and will not use it too. I care for the environment but i care for my life, my familiy and my money much more. Also - I value my time and would like to depart whenever I want. This is the only reason i prefer to drive my own car anywhere rather than use the Bus/Train.

I think this concept will gather dust and die down. Car-pooling with strangers is at least two-generations away.

Other negatives of a car pool for an owner-driver
  • non-adjusting nature of most people (sitting with knees apart position and not knees up position)
  • Stingy drivers put AC in blower 1, which seldom cools the 2nd or 3rd row.
  • The loud-mouth co-passenger who talks to his mom/dad/uncle/aunt throughout the journey. It is a courtesy to talk to the owner-driver when he volunteers to drive
  • Backseat Driving
  • Delay in paying one's share (if agreed upon for cost sharing)
  • Making the seats dirty/eating inside the car etc
  • Fight for the front seat
  • Expectation of a "door-to-door" service

Last edited by scopriobharath : 16th July 2014 at 14:41.
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Old 16th July 2014, 15:10   #5
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

It is a nice concept but instilling trust in people to share a ride with strangers seems extremely difficult due to the several challenges as listed in the previous posts.

Sure carpooling is good for the environment and is the need of the hour for our congested city roads, but if not with a known person, it is always better to use public/ personal transport.

For people who can afford, they will still use a car or a cab. The ones who want to hitch a ride, will still stand on the highways waiting for some driver, keen on making some quick buck while driving his owner's unoccupied vehicle, to offer them a ride.

I don't see this business model meeting any success in India.
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Old 16th July 2014, 15:49   #6
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
For people who can afford, they will still use a car or a cab. The ones who want to hitch a ride, will still stand on the highways waiting for some driver, keen on making some quick buck while driving his owner's unoccupied vehicle, to offer them a ride.
Even in known people like colleagues and friends, As GTO mentioned, honouring time commitements still is a long way to go. The relation with colleague will spoil if i am made to wait constantly and i express my displeasure and also if i withdraw from my car-pool.

Now - here is a more relevant question - This is a "Service" being provided by BlaBlaCar. So I am liable to pay service tax. If i charge a person say RS 50/- from point A to point B, i need to collect Rs 6.18/- extra as 12.36% service tax and pay it. If government is legally sanctioning this business, for sure it would be attached to service tax clause. Is it not an added liability on me to maintain a current account for this and then pay service-tax. Since this is a cash-transaction, it will go as "black" but as a responsible citizen want to know the tax implications. I am also a salaried person, so this 50 that i make is taxed at 30%, which means i make effectively only Rs 35/-.

A cost analysis:

Malad to Saki Naka = 14 kms approx one way :-: 28 kms return
approx 2 litres of petrol = Rs 160/- per day
Assume 20 working days a month and i ferry 4 including me: RS 3200/- per month (fuel alone, ignore other costs like toll/service etc)
3200/4 = 800 per person = 800*3 = 2400/- is my income.
Tax @ 30% = Rs 720
Money in pocket = 1680/-

So it is a trade-off between privacy, time-management and comfort with 50% sharing in fuel costs.

Last edited by scopriobharath : 16th July 2014 at 15:58.
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Old 16th July 2014, 16:13   #7
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

This is an old idea really. Germany has had www.mitfahrzentrale.de since 1998. I used it cheaply and successfully in 2003 (10 EUR from freiburg to interlaken). Its like couchsurfing, but for rides.

Couch surfing works just fine in India. I don't see why this won't work.

It may not have millions of users, but the Indian market is large enough. Why not? Lots of bad apples, but many many good ones as well.
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Old 16th July 2014, 17:54   #8
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
This is an old idea really. Germany has had www.mitfahrzentrale.de since 1998. I used it cheaply and successfully in 2003 (10 EUR from freiburg to interlaken). Its like couchsurfing, but for rides. Couch surfing works just fine in India. I don't see why this won't work. It may not have millions of users, but the Indian market is large enough. Why not? Lots of bad apples, but many many good ones as well.
Okay- I browsed the BlaBlaCar website for UK and here is my take on what it does. It caters to both professional cabbies and also to individual car owners.

If a cabbie is say dropping someone from point A to point B, He can put in an advertisement on BlaBlaCar that 4 seats are available from Point B to point A. This will help him make more money.

If an individual person is say driving intercity, He can put in an advertisement that he is driving and someone travelling can join him. He gets money and company.

In UK the laws are strong and the probability of someone misbehaving is much much lesser compared to India. Of course the Site might be a hit and people will use it. there will be so many cases of illegal actvities and they media might represent the same as "BlaBlaCar driver rob inmates". This is similar to news items seen like "Train hits car" whereas the news should read, "Car jumps the railway-gate and comes in the path of train". Train hits car sounds like train jumped out of the tracks, chased down a car on a highway, hit it and then jumped back on the tracks.

People might use the service but there are so many chances for security risk. I think at least, TBHPians, the informed commmunity will NOT go with BlaBlaCar concept.

Heck, I dont give a lift in broad daylight to someone sporting even my company neck-lan/ID Cards. I offer lifts to people only if the "face" is known, irrespective of Elders/Ladies/Youth/Children etc.
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Old 16th July 2014, 18:04   #9
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

Actually such customer to customer market places work on trust. Only trusted users will reap the benefits while there would be the sleazy / idiotic fellows for sure who will be sidelined.

Surely a lot of students / young bachelors would be open to such an idea. Let's see how it pans out - I was myself surprised with couchsurfing's success.

I could've had such passengers when I drove delhi to chennai last august, if nothing else to talk to, and cut the boredom, even if on a free basis - as long as they talk very less and just be good listeners
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Old 16th July 2014, 18:36   #10
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Other negatives of a car pool for an owner-driver
  • non-adjusting nature of most people (sitting with knees apart position and not knees up position)
  • Stingy drivers put AC in blower 1, which seldom cools the 2nd or 3rd row.
  • The loud-mouth co-passenger who talks to his mom/dad/uncle/aunt throughout the journey. It is a courtesy to talk to the owner-driver when he volunteers to drive
  • Backseat Driving
  • Delay in paying one's share (if agreed upon for cost sharing)
  • Making the seats dirty/eating inside the car etc
  • Fight for the front seat
  • Expectation of a "door-to-door" service
I use Blablacar (and a few other carsharing sites) very often here in Germany. Last time I travelled in a Jaguar from Cologne to Stuttgart for 20€ (around 100€ by train had I booked a place 1-2 days back). In this case the driver (dressed in suit and tie) was the owner of a private company, he opened the car's door and asked me if I would like to keep my luggage in the boot. Can you imagine this in India?

Let me tell you, I have never experienced any of these points (mentioned above) during any of my rides. Primarily because of the people I've travelled with. We Indians lack basic manners and etiquettes (talking on phone, coming late, spitting and peeing around etc.).

Not only is it a cheap and comfortable way to travel, one does get to meet a lot of interesting people as well, who knows when you can get lucky.

I would be surprised if this thing works in India. People and circumstances to blame.

Spike
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Old 17th July 2014, 12:38   #11
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

There was a case mentioned in the papers some years back that children and senior citizens who asked for lifts, poke a needle pre dipped with some chemical into the rider's body. The rider becomes unconcious and they escape by robbing everything from the rider and in some case, even the two-wheeler is robbed and stripped for parts.

This is my only fear. If my co-rider turns out to be an anti-social, I dont have a choice.

Secondly - here is a scenario, which i could not guess how to avoid/handle.

Let us say i find a ride from Chennai to Trichy. In case a gang wants to rob, they can give an advert in blablacar and they can setup thier own men at strategic locations (say chengalpet) and in the pretext of picking another passenger, They could drive me to a secluded spot and rob me/kill me. Some Bangalore thieves are noted to swipe maximum limits on the debit card before and after midnight and also withdraw maximum cash on credit cards. The cabbie initially could be geniune and say that I am from trichy and am dropping a customer at the Chennai international airport and coming back to Trichy empty, so i placed an ad in blablacar. AC Innova and 4 hrs to trichy sir. Better compared to bus sir

So - for the benefit of everyone - please comment on how to handle this.
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Old 17th July 2014, 13:48   #12
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Couch surfing works just fine in India. I don't see why this won't work
Just stumbled on this point...

Not to disagree with you, but, my thought goes that, couchsurfing works because we trust foreigners more in this country than our fellowmen
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Old 17th July 2014, 14:37   #13
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Just stumbled on this point...

Not to disagree with you, but, my thought goes that, couchsurfing works because we trust foreigners more in this country than our fellowmen
True. More couchsurfing happens much more with foreigners - as mentioned by a couple of friends who are majorly into CS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
There was a case mentioned in the papers some years back that children and senior citizens who asked for lifts, poke a needle pre dipped with some chemical into the rider's body. The rider becomes unconcious and they escape by robbing everything from the rider and in some case, even the two-wheeler is robbed and stripped for parts.

This is my only fear. If my co-rider turns out to be an anti-social, I dont have a choice.

Secondly - here is a scenario, which i could not guess how to avoid/handle.

Let us say i find a ride from Chennai to Trichy. In case a gang wants to rob, they can give an advert in blablacar and they can setup thier own men at strategic locations (say chengalpet) and in the pretext of picking another passenger, They could drive me to a secluded spot and rob me/kill me. Some Bangalore thieves are noted to swipe maximum limits on the debit card before and after midnight and also withdraw maximum cash on credit cards. The cabbie initially could be geniune and say that I am from trichy and am dropping a customer at the Chennai international airport and coming back to Trichy empty, so i placed an ad in blablacar. AC Innova and 4 hrs to trichy sir. Better compared to bus sir

So - for the benefit of everyone - please comment on how to handle this.
This is very simple. It depends solely on trust. I would take a ride only with the people with high trust ratings, i.e a cabbie of a good company, or a driver whose taken on many co-passengers in the past (e.g say our guru HVK!) etc.

No one is saying that you should take lifts from a random faceless nameless stranger. I'm just saying that given our humongous population, among the millions of idiots, there are tens of thousands of good guys too. May take some time, but it should surely work out. Remember they have the option to verify member details and offering in-app messaging (i.e full audit trails) as well.

Leaving that aside, you can simply save their details - e.g take their number, and give it to your friend/family, so that the other person knows that someone will come after them if something happens to you. Heck today you can tell them that your friends can track you via google - https://support.google.com/plus/answ..._location&rd=1

Technology has made many of these things easy. I wouldn't write it off so soon man. Let's keep an open mind - if it works, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.

In a twisted way, if it keeps even a handful of cars off our roads, its good for the rest of us BHPians who love and live to drive, no?

Let's make everyone else carpool, no?!

EDIT: Obviously indians have been working on it, but haven't gained traction. see http://zify.co/
Quote:
Originally Posted by zify
Our verification process are a result of extensive research and numerous meetings with govenrment officials and law authorities. Our Patent pending ride-tracking system enables us to keep an eye on all the rides. Even when a vehicle deviates from its pre-defined route, we raise an alarm and immediately get in touch with the occupants. All this makes Zify, the worst place to commit any crime.
Not just we verify users, but we also carry out a detailed vehicle inspection to determine the worthiness of each vehicle to ply on the streets.
they just got some very minor funding too: http://www.indiainfoline.com/Markets...COM/5923647576

Last edited by phamilyman : 17th July 2014 at 15:00.
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Old 17th July 2014, 15:09   #14
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

This type of service if implemented properly will be very good for our cities where 10 people travelling to the same company from same area will travel in 10 different cars.

But alas if only us Indians could know how to behave in public, how to be courteous and respect one another's space et al. Punctuality will be a very big issue since when we say that we will be at a particular place at say 09.00 AM what we actually mean is that I will leave my house at 09.00AM.

Other issues are co-passengers treating the car as though it is a public vehicle and not taking care that the vehicle is as clean as it was when we entered it. And the most important issue of all is that of security. When there are heinous crimes committed by trusted cabbies then what can we say about unknown individuals ? Also as rightly put by the comments above, incase any untoward incident occurs, the person to be blamed will be the victim.

So all in all even though this type of service will be very beneficial for at least the IT cities here, our nature and habits will not make it so. After all every major company has car pooling list on its intranet. How many of us make use of it ?
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Old 17th July 2014, 16:10   #15
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Default Re: BlaBlaCar, Ride Sharing Service, may come to India

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
So - for the benefit of everyone - please comment on how to handle this.
Keeping user safety in mind, users are required to sign in via facebook, google+ or some other social networking website, and all their details starting from their picture, phone number, email id, etc will have to be given. The site will go through strict moderation, to ensure that the information is true and reliable.

To maintain privacy, all communication between users will be through BlaBlaCars only; and neither user will be made visible the contact details of the other.

Well, there is just so much BlaBlaCar can do to build confidence in the users and develop trust in the community to popularize the ride sharing service.
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