“Sharing & Caring” A Childhood Lesson Or A Solution To Urban Commute Hassles?

The choice of vehicle to use for these last-mile connectivity trips is critical. EV mobility is a good fit as it attracts a comparatively low total cost of ownership as more kilometers are driven per day, an important metric for a rideshare operator

Photo Credit : Bivash Banerjee,

Transportation as a need is as old as humanity. The movement was paramount to survival – food, shelter, trading, work and so on. Ancient trading routes, some of them still traceable today, stand as a silent testimony of the mobility needs of the bygone eras.

While mobility needs have persisted to the modern age, its contours have changed drastically. 

Most noticeable is the fact that the scope of mobility has increased. Many of our wayfaring ancestors might not have envisaged a global transportation services industry that is worth US$6.2 trillion, as per a report published by reportlinker. It is on track to hit US$7.8b trillion by 2027, according to the same report.

Out of that enormous value, urban mobility will account for a large chunk. That is hardly surprising when 56.3% of the world's population lives in urban cities. That share is expected to rise to 68% by 2050, according to the UN.

One often overlooked aspect of urban mobility is short trips, that is, trips less than five miles. They make up the majority of all rides taken today. Short urban trips are very crucial as they are often the link or last-mile connectivity to or from a city's public mass transit network e.g. a metro station. 

Metro connectivity is significant as over 53 billion rides per annum are completed by various metro systems globally. In India alone, over 2.5 billion rides are completed every year and the metro network across the country is growing at a very rapid pace. Metro rail is one of the best commute options w.r.t. cost, time, and sustainability. However, most metro systems in India are running way below their projected numbers and the biggest reason for the same is a lack of effective first and last-mile connectivity as per a WRI report. 

The short rides aspect of city movement is often fraught with challenges. Accessing the same through public transport like buses is time and energy-consuming. In India, commuters complain of struggles to get taxis to get to the Metro Rail stations as the cabs or autos are not just expensive but unreliable and require long wait times. Moreover, most of the app-based hailing services’ drivers always look for longer rides and hence deny the short rides more often than not. When the commuters choose to drive down, finding suitable parking space at most metro stations becomes another issue.

Urban commuters are increasingly turning to shared mobility powered by ridesharing or hailing operators to cover public transit last-mile connectivity. This has contributed to a boom in the shared mobility market value, which is pegged at US$85.8 billion for 2021 and will grow to US$185.1 billion by 2026.

However, there are several reasons why city dwellers are flocking to ride-hailing services for last-mile connectivity on their office commute, especially in population-dense areas. Ride-hailing is attractive due to lower cost, less waiting time, and the elimination of the need for parking space and expenses. Other reasons are ease of summoning a ride, increased transparency in cost calculation compared to traditional cabs or autos, elimination of the need to own and maintain a car, etc.

The choice of vehicle to use for these last-mile connectivity trips is critical. EV mobility is a good fit as it attracts a comparatively low total cost of ownership as more kilometers are driven per day, an important metric for a rideshare operator. Electric vehicles 'refuel' with electricity, which is usually cheaper than diesel or petrol. They are also more reliable due to having fewer moving parts that could wear out or break down. Range anxiety is non-existent as the trips are short & predictable. The environment benefits too when EVs are used for ride-hailing as emission reductions are three times compared to private vehicles. 

For metro connectivity, Electric 3 Wheelers (3W) are the best option as most metro station zones are congested, and getting in and out for bigger vehicles like cars is cumbersome. Also, the CAPEX for Electric cars is relatively much higher as compared to 3Ws. Affordability and minimal wait times are the two key requirements for a daily commuter which can be best served using Electric 3 Wheelers for the first and last mile. In short, the lessons our parents and teachers taught us in our early years i.e. “Sharing & Caring” is the mantra for an effective last-mile commute. “Sharing” your daily rides with others to reduce congestion, pollution and chaos. Also “Caring” for our environment and our future generations by minimizing the use of fossil fuels and switching to EVs. It is high time we practice what we preach to our kids, so let’s “Share and Care”.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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