Saturday, August 29, 2009

Carpooling, a short message away

Carpooling, a short message away

CommuteEasy, which boasts of the largest network of carpoolers in the country, plans to offer SMS facility to members for easier access to its services. Those advocating the concept of sharing vehicles feel this will save time. Shwetha S reports

Shwetha S



Carpooling is about to get a lot easier. All you have to do is just send an SMS to find about cars available in your area.
CommuteEasy, which claims to have India's largest carpooling network, is planning to launch an SMS service with the aim of becoming more user-friendly for carpoolers. It is planning to become more tech savvy, encouraged by the response to the service. It claims to have 15,000 registrations within eight months of its launch.
"Considering the overwhelming response from commuters, we are planning to make our services more user-friendly by introducing the concept of carpooling through an SMS," Vipul Kasere, founder of CommuteEasy, said. "We are planning to introduce the SMS service to help working professionals. With each passing day, more and more corporates are joining the CommuteEasy carpooling service for the benefit of their employees," he said.
Kasere said the company had tied up with HP and Wipro. "Over 550 people from each company have registered with us," he said. "We plans to tie up with more corporates, like Axa. Since the membership is swelling, we believe our SMS service will help us reach members more easily and at short notice."
Currently, members have to look for available cars on the CommuteEasy website. This needs a computer and an internet connection. "The SMS service will make the process of finding a car more swift and easy than doing it through the website," Kasere said. "Any commuter who is registered with us has to just send an SMS to a given number, furnishing details of where he or she is and the destination. For instance, if some one in Banashankari wants to use the service, all the person has to do is send a message to the helpline number. A message with mobile numbers of people starting from the vicinity in a car will be sent to the person, who can then call up any of the phone numbers and co-ordinate the travel."
But the SMS service will take some time. "We are still in the process of formulating the plan. We will implement it very soon — may be in a couple of months," Kasere said.
He said the company also plans to offer the service to schools and colleges. "Soon after the festival season gets over, we plan to tie up with schools and colleges. Most educational institutions are now shut for various reasons," he said.
"If they introduce the SMS system for carpooling, it will be quite helpful for us," Venkatesh Prasad, a Wipro employee, a carpooler, said. "We will no longer have to depend on a computer and internet connection for to look for carpoolers."
"The biggest advantage of the SMS system would be that it will help us save a lot of time," Ragunandhan K, who works with Sasken Communication, said.
"This system sounds really workable. We will get to know about other carpoolers within minutes and we can co-ordinate with them over the phone immediately. I hope they implement this plan as early as possible," K Vinay, a student of Christ College, said.

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