Share a Cab to Save the Planet - Common Sense Living Newsletter
 
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Share a Cab to Save the Planet

Entrepreneurship
Life
Apr 30, 2016

Share a Cab to Save the Planet 

My tryst with Bangalore entrepreneurs continues. Almost in response to my woes about the Garden City's fading greenery and rising heat levels, here's an entrepreneur whose venture addresses at least part of the problem...

Bhaskar Chavda, co-founder, myofficecab, calls his company an 'eco-transportation company'. Its emphasis on using a fleet with absolutely no diesel vehicles, and its mandate of 'cab-pooling', aims at reducing the traffic problem in Bangalore...and the broader carbon footprint of the world.

Over a cup of hot tea in one of Bangalore's umpteen new cafes, Bhaskar and I spoke about his venture, its tree-planting initiative and the growing on-demand taxi industry.

Read on...

Ritika: How was the idea behind myofficecab conceptualised?

Bhaskar: When we co-founders were in a job, we observed a slight change in weather, and employees complained about health issues. They also complained about stress due to traffic on the road, and of feeling tired even before they started work.

The social impact of pollution on people living in cities is huge...mainly because the number of trees are reducing. This was particularly highlighted when Barack Obama visited India, and it was said that his life expectancy would go down just by breathing in the open here.

We realised traffic is causing pollution and stress, leading to reduced productivity. That's when we came up with the idea of myofficecab - an environment-friendly employee transportation company that uses technology to reduce traffic and pollution.

Ritika: As the name goes, does myofficecab only cater to office goers?

Bhaskar: A very common problem is traffic. Within that, people complain about peak-hour traffic. Peak-hour traffic is essentially when many cars are on the road at the same time, and it is mostly office-going traffic.

myofficecab is thus a solution for peak-hour traffic with office transportation that pools employees together. This ultimately reduces the number of vehicles on the road. Today, corporates are willing to pay for cabs that pool their employees together, to bring them to office and take them back home.

Ritika: In a city famous for its traffic jams, how do you ensure clients reach their workplace on time?

Bhaskar: Bangalore has an estimated population of 10 million for an area of 2190 sq. km. If each individual was on the road in their own vehicle, there would be 4566 vehicles on the road per sq. km. That would be crazy!

Our cab-sharing service helps reduces that number. Additionally, with the use of navigation technology, our drivers plan the best route to be taken depending on the traffic situation and the pick-up location... This ensures employees reach on time.

Ritika: How does the myofficecab model work? Do you own the fleet, or do cab owners come in with their own vehicles?

Bhaskar: myofficecab is an aggregator of cabs. The unique thing is that all our cabs are environment-friendly cabs and don't use diesel as a fuel.

Another differentiator is our focus on corporates and office commute only...the main reason for peak traffic. And we do not have any peak hour charges!

Ritika: Why would a customer choose myofficecab considering there are so many other cab services available? What value-added services do you offer?

Bhaskar: The biggest benefit our clients get is that they contribute to the environment and reduce traffic through pooling. Moreover, their stress levels go down, and they feel an increase in productivity... Organisations are looking for such services that make our world a better place. Additionally, all our vehicles are fitted with a GPS device and a panic button... Employees feel safer as they know their ride is being tracked. In case of an emergency, they can raise an alarm in our system and we will provide the necessary help. Since people are working odd hours nowadays, our technology helps them and their families feel safer.

Ritika: How do you train your cab drivers on issues of safety and traffic regulations?

Bhaskar: We were the first cab company to approach the Army Welfare Placement Organization to help ex-servicemen with jobs in our organisation. This ensures drivers who already come with a great sense of discipline.

We also approached Bangalore Traffic Police and leveraged their training center to train our drivers on traffic-related rules and regulations. Further, to conduct criminal background checks on our drivers, myofficecab has a tie-up with First Advantage.

Ritika: You call myofficecab an 'eco-transportation company'? How would you define that term?

Bhaskar: Diesel is the most polluting fuel. Governments across the world and courts are waking up to this fact. At myofficecab, we are of the view that we should not always wait for government to take action; we can start doing the right thing ourselves.

The fleet of myofficecab uses only environment-friendly fuels like LPG, CNG, and electricity. We were the first cab company to announce the booking of Tesla's Model 3.

So far, through our efforts, we have helped reduce CO2 emission by 15+ million grams. This is still a drop in the ocean...but we are committed to bigger goals. We also plant one tree per cab per month... These tree planting events are conducted in collaboration with schools to increase awareness among students too.

Ritika: How do you and your team plan to take the venture forward? And what have your main achievements and challenges been thus far?

Bhaskar: myofficecab started in Bangalore... We currently have 20 companies as customers. Our target is to grow that base to 100 and then expand to five cities across India. We eventually want to take this concept to major cities across the world, which are facing similar problems of peak-hour traffic and an increase in pollution.

The journey of an entrepreneur becomes a joy ride if you have the right team. Having great co-founders has made overcoming challenges fun. The biggest reward for us was the satisfaction we got by reducing 15+ million grams of CO2 emission.

We have now also built an ecosystem for a driver to understand the difference between a polluting vehicle and an environment-friendly vehicle... They now chose to buy a new environment-friendly vehicle.

Ritika: Do you feel the on-demand taxi service is cluttered with too many players? Or is the industry still largely untapped and growing?

Bhaskar: What we see in the on-demand taxi industry is still just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to come in this space; it will evolve tremendously in the near future... This is a reflection of how shared economies are the need of the hour.

In a highly-populated country like India, since public transport does not sufficiently meet daily commuting needs, the taxi industry has a huge opportunity. But the solution cannot be one taxi per person... Most taxi operators are slowly realising that their true contribution to society will occur only when they move toward a sharing model.

Ritika: One last question - I've been intrigued about why Bangalore is among the top startup hubs in the world... What do you think gives the city its appeal?

Bhaskar: The biggest credit goes to the people of Bangalore... It really takes a different type of heart to be able to develop a startup eco-system!

 
 

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2 Responses to "Share a Cab to Save the Planet"

sarat palat

06 May, 2016

Wishing all the best. We need to have this sort of innovative ideas in order to reduce pollution.

rk

04 May, 2016

super idea

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