Here is a new initiative taken by the citizens of Mumbai, a city which has been facing a series of unpredictable events in the past few months. A new SMS-based carpool service is currently being tested in Mumbai. Called Koolpool, the service will formally be launched in the first week of September 2006. Initially the service will be open only to corporate executives.
Indiatimes has also lent its 8888 SMS bandwidthy for the Koolpool service. Its first sponsors are Hindustan Petroleum, RadioCity and Airtel.
According to Koolpool, Ride Givers get their fuel compensation when the Ride Seeker confirms he is taking a ride, but the Ride Seeker is not charged for the ride. The company says, standard mobile operators charges will be applied for the carpool SMS messages.
Mumbai Environmental Social Network, which is managing the Koolpool service, says there are about 1.5 million empty travel seats in Mumbai where over 70 per cent of cars have only one passenger. This realization inspired the NGO to think of a carpool service for the metropolitan city suffering from the agony of perennial traffic jam and congestion. And the result is the cool Koolpool service.
Koolpool’s service includes a free trial of 10,000 free rides on a first come first serve basis. Thus ride givers get their fuel compensation when the Ride Seeker confirms that he/she is taking a ride. But the Ride Seeker is not charged for the ride. On the Koolpool website, the proprietors of this service call it an interesting social experiment.
On its website, there is also a list of carpool ethics to be followed. So I do not see anything but goodness coming out of this effort. And, with today’s spurt of unpredictable events like the floods etc Koolpool is bound to be a hit.