BlaBlaCar, a marketplace for city-to-city rides cab service, after making waves across Europe, Russia and Turkey has driven its way into India. The timing of its arrival, however, comes at one of the most challenging period where app-based taxi aggregators are making compliance with transport authorities in the country. Also Read - Delhi government asks Uber to become a Radio Taxi to ply in the Capital
The French company BlaBlaCar, which raised $100 million last year, lets users check if a driver will be driving from one city to another and book a seat in advance. This is a win-win situation for both drivers as well as passengers, as both of them get benefited from the service. The company takes 10 percent on average from both riders and passengers. Also Read - Uber competitor Easy Taxi aborts India launch plan
The company announced that its service will be free for the first year in India, which will change when BlaBlaCar will start taking cut out of every booking once it manages to expand its base in the country. The company notes that it has over 10 million registered users across 13 countries. As of October last year, the company had 2 million people using its service every month. Also Read - Uber rape case: Cab operators brainstorm 'passenger safety measures' to avoid future mishap
BlaBlaCar notes that in Europe, its model has been found to be a cheaper alternative than trains for small distances. It will be interesting to see if it holds true in India as well as the service already sounds enticing giving more comfort and convenience to users. The company plans to start its operations in India with Delhi and then move across Jaipur and other cities.
“We aim to explore every large market in the world where ground transport can be improved upon. India has a lot to gain from community ridesharing. Smart, sustainable and social, it’s a win-win situation for both car-owners and co-travellers,” said Nicolas Brusson, Co-Founder and COO, BlaBlaCar.
The company notes that while the prices of the taxi fare will be fixed, drivers will have the ability to adjust them in accordance with a lot of factors within reason. But drivers won’t be able to exceed the price beyond a ceiling limit set by BlaBlaCar.
The BlaBlaCar is available on both Android and iOS and requires users to sign up via Facebook to use the service. The idea behind Facebook login is to add trust factor. The company then authenticates users’ account to ensure that real profile photos and full names are being used. The app also lets you know and decide the person with whom you will be traveling.
The company also said that it will have a dedicated support team available at all times. Additionally, it also notes that it utilizes a “community” based system to improve security. The community has the ability to self-moderate the drivers and passengers based on ratings. The car service also offers a “Ladies Only” feature wherein a lady passenger has the option to share the car with another lady passenger and lady driver.
“With the limited capacity of public transportation and last minute travel options in India, BlaBlaCar offers an affordable, friendly, and efficient alternative. BlaBlaCar creates a unique space for car owners and co-travellers to get to know each other and make an informed choice about whom they want to travel with. For India’s 100 million Facebook users and 160 million plus smartphone users, this is a travel revolution,” said Raghav Gupta, Country Manager, BlaBlaCar India.