It is somewhat like scientists saying that pasta is good for you, in studies that are funded by Big Pasta.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) now says ridesharing is good for you, cities, countries, the world - in a study that was funded by Uber.
Nevertheless, there is a small difference between what Big Pasta says and what Uber does. Even intuitively you knew ridesharing works. If you agree to pool, the rides get cheaper, drivers probably earn more, and there could be less vehicles on the road. Thereby, less congestion.
The BCG report, 'Unlocking Cities: The Impact of ridesharing across India' released earlier this week, now throws up some thought provoking numbers.
1. Since 1980, transport demand has shot up 8X in India. Congestion is estimated to cost four India cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata - $22 billion a year, mostly in fuel and productivity losses.
2. This number is interesting: 80 per cent of the commuters surveyed expressed some willingness to forgo purchasing a car if rideshare could meet "their desired level of service". This implies that ridesharing as a mode of commuting has a long way to go. There is a trade-off in pooling cars; it can take much longer for you to reach versus a private car. Today, picking up and dropping multiple commuters on the same stretch sounds theoretically and technologically do-able and a great idea. However, in the Indian context, the vehicle has to deal with the country's infrastructure and often, delays because of the inability of the driver and the commuter to find each other at a particular location.
3. Now what happens if all of us buy into the idea of ridesharing? BCG created a "theoretical scenario in which ridesharing matches private car ownership in terms of affordability, timeliness, and availability". A reduction of 33-68 per cent in private cars and congestion reduction by 17-31 per cent can be achieved across the four cities, the report predicts. Cities can also save on parking spaces, to the tune of 760-22,000 acre each city!