December 21, 2016
Kochi : Air pollution is a growing concern in Kochi and a major reason is the number of vehicles choking the city’s roads and bylanes. Based on figures from Road Transport Offices, around 200 cars are registered in Kochi daily – a pointer that a Delhi kind of smog episode can happen here anytime. The endless traffic snarls that have become synonymous with Kochi has finally “driven” the city to the idea of carpooling; ride-sharing apps have suddenly sprouted dime a dozen.
Many in the city are registering for carpool apps that help connect car drivers with those looking for rides. Successful tie-ups not only help reduce congestion on the road, but also save fuel. With increased realisation about the need to reduce pollution and congestion, especially on traffic-heavy routes, the popularity of these apps is rising steadily.
One of the popular carpooling apps, Convoy – started by a group of techies working at Infopark – even offers long-distance trips. Started as a WhatsApp group by five techies to connect with people travelling in the same direction on weekends, Convoy is now a cherished facility for many on their weekly trips home.
Jabir Cherukunathu, a techie with Wipro and founder-admin of Convoy, says the idea sprung from one of their long and tired travels to their homes in Malappuram on a Friday after a hectic week followed by the return journey the following Monday. “The travel is always tedious; most of the time, trains and buses are crowded and getting a seat is next to impossible,” says Jabir. That’s when he and his friends hit upon the idea of starting a carpooling platform. Jabir was the first to be on the wheel. Soon more groups were formed covering almost all major destinations in Kerala.
“Today there are even trips from Infopark to Thiruvanthapuram,” informs Jabir. Presently Convoy has 5,500 registered members. “It’s also a great platform to connect with people while on the go,” he adds.