KOLKATA / BENGALURU: Many topcorporatesin the country are now proactively encouraging employees to carpool,bikepool, and use ride-share apps to commute to work to help ease persistent traffic gridlocks across Indian cities every working day and reduceair pollution.
Companies with large workforces such as Infosys, Capgemini, Cognizant, HCL, Amazon, Flipkart, Siemens, L&T, Biocon and HDFC Bank and several smaller companies are running awareness campaigns, setting up digital platforms to help employees plan commutes better, and even rewarding top carpoolers to keep employees engaged and motivated to reduce carbon emissions and traffic jams across cities.
A recent report by Dutch location and navigation services provider TomTom had found Bengaluru to be the most traffic-congested city in the world. Three other Indian cities in the TomTom Traffic Index 2019, that ranked 416 cities across the world based on congestion – Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi – too, finished in the top 10.
Sharing commutes not only saves cost and fuel, but also reduces the stress of daily travel, point out service providers in this segment whose business is booming.
Car and bike pooling platform Quick Ride said almost 25 new companies sign up every week and 300,000 new users join the platform monthly; commute automation platform MoveInSync said it is growing 50% month-on-month; and, social carpooling app sRide said it has 550 companies on its platform across 10 cities, a nearly four-fold jump from two years ago.
“Some of the companies spend up to $3-4 million per year on employee transportation,” said Lakshna Jha, CEO of sRide. “By introducing carpooling, there is an alternative mode of transportation which helps to reduce cost. It also helps to form a stronger community among employees.” sRide recently onboarded WNS, Huawei and Snapdeal.
Quick Ride cofounder KNM Rao said the carpooling app has 3.5 million registered users and a million active users every month. “Almost 90% of the usage is for corporate carpooling,” he said. Its recently added clients include Harman, Maersk, Verizon and L&T.
MoveInSync cofounder Deepesh Agarwal said Adobe, Flipkart, Swiggy, DailyHunt and Udaan are among companies that have signed up for GetToWork, a shared cab service for tech parks across Bengaluru and some key commercial areas that the company rolled out three months ago.
Consulting major Capgemini India has an umbrella campaign called #CAReToShare to encourage employees to carpool through promotional activities such as Carpool Carnivals, rewards for top carpoolers, and preferred parking programmes.
Vijay Chandramohan, senior director-India corporate real estate services at Capgemini, said the number of its carpooling employees has shot up by 202% since the first quarter of 2017 to 82,427 in December 2019. The initiative helped the company reduce carbon emissions by 65% between January and December last year. “And we have saved over 1,537,719 trees and carpooled 3,346,0476 kilometres,” Chandramohan said.
Richard Lobo, human resources head at Infosys, said the information technology services major is focusing on reducing carbon emissions across its operations worldwide and its entire system is designed around the concept of shared commutes: shared bus facilities, shared cabs, carpooling options. It offers parking benefits to ridesharing drivers. With more than 73,500 users taking more than 1.6 million rides, it converts to Rs 7.83 crore saved in fuel, Lobo said.
To encourage its employees to carpool, Cognizant has set up kiosks and stalls, launched a brand ambassador programme, and offers incentives such as dedicated parking spaces for carpoolers and awards for top carpoolers, said Bijay Mukherjee, head of corporate workplace services for India at Cognizant. Many senior leaders of the company are also frequent carpoolers.
“Since 2018, our employees have collectively travelled more than 51 million kilometers, saved over 3 million liters of fuel, and helped reduce more than 11 million kilotons of carbon emissions (CO2), as a result of carpooling, ” added Mukherjee.
Ecommerce marketplace Flipkart encourages its employees to carpool and use rideshare apps while technology solutions major Siemens India’s HR head Shilpa Kabra Maheshwari said the company runs buses for its employees and has also introduced the carpool system in some specific routes that connect to public transportation stations.