The Union road transport and highways ministry will soon issue national-level guidelines on shared mobility, focusing on pooling services by private car owners, to tackle pollution and decongest metros.
A formal framework, anchored by the Centre, is also expected to give clarity to app-based services such as Quick Ride, redBus, and BlaBlaCar, based on which they can expand the scope of the services, and bring uniformity in rules across states and, thus, reduce regulatory hurdles.
“The norms for ridesharing through non-transport private vehicles will be released in a month. The idea is to encourage adoption of shared mobility, via cars or bikes. After this, states will have to implement it at their own discretion,” a senior government official said, seeking anonymity.
The Centre had decided to roll out the rules last year with a larger framework involving taxi aggregators. However, it got delayed because of covid, the official said.
An individual driving his personal car can offer rides to others travelling on the same route, thus reducing commuting expenses. Carpooling can also be provided by ride-hailing apps such as Ola and Uber, who will, however, have to offer a separate platform for this. Uber has a ‘commute’ service, which matches pairs of neighbours and co-workers travelling along similar routes, to save time, money and environment, said Uber in a blog post on 1 September.
“Such regulations will be a welcome step. This indicates the government understands the value of carpooling. Any regulation that is not overbearing or difficult to implement is absolutely welcome,” redBus chief executive Prakash Sangam said in an interview.
The transport ministry has completed discussions with states and other stakeholders. The service offering will be a non-commercial venture, and there will be a limit on the number of rides offered by a car owner.
India urgently needs an enabling national-level regulatory prescription that can be adopted by states, said Rameesh Kailasam, chief executive officer, IndiaTech, a think tank. “While it is important to have elements of safety and security, such a policy should also encourage monetization to make it viable,” Kailasam said.
This article was first published on livemint.com