If you are going nuts navigating the city traffic, here’s a solution you might like to try. Car pooling or ride sharing. It reduces your stress of driving as also has other benefits for you and your society at large. Car pooling benefits its members in many ways including saving money, saving fuel, reducing global warming and easing traffic.

The Indian Carpool Survey conducted by Indimoto gives interesting details about the demographic, social and economic profile of commuters who have adopted carpooling as a mode of commuting. Over 500 commuters who have used the internet (carpool listing/classified sites including Indimoto.com) to enter into carpool/rideshare arrangements across India since 2006 were surveyed.

The findings indicate that carpool as a concept has been embraced primarily by educated commuters from major metros with well paying jobs. This trend can be attributed to high internet penetration in the metros and greater awareness of carpools and its benefits amongst such individuals. Not surprisingly, it is more popular in cities where the traffic situation is the worst like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The maximum car-poolers belong to New Delhi (57 %) followed by Mumbai (23 %) and Bangalore (8 %).  Only 16 per cent of the car-poolers are female who however believe the concept to be relatively safe.  70 % of car-poolers are in the age group of 25-40 years (70 per cent). They form the most active working population and commute to work daily.

57 % of car-poolers are highly educated with most holding a post graduate qualification. 99 % of respondents carpool for an income generating activity and majority (84 per cent) are salaried employees.

It’s not that the car poolers surveyed were short of funds. 57 % earned over  Rs. 50,000 per month and 10 % upwards of Rs.100,000 per month. These are well paid private sector employees, car-pooling to their offices in various metros. Only 6 % of the car-poolers do not posses a private vehicle while 86 per cent own one or more cars and share driving responsibilities with fellow car-poolers.

As expected, majority of car-poolers commute over long distances each day, 84 % commute over 26 kilometres everyday with 17 % travelling over 76 kilometres on a daily commute. Despite this, 38 % car-poolers are able to keep their commuting costs below Rs. 3000 per month by carpooling.

Car-poolers say the primary accrued benefit is the reduction in CO2 emissions which helps them reduce their carbon footprint in the race to save the planet from global warming. 67 % cited this as the main benefit of carpools. Indeed highly environmentally conscious.

62 % appreciated the money saving opportunity through carpooling while 53 % were glad that they were reducing traffic on choked city streets. Saving of precious fuel was cited as another benefit by 41% of the car-poolers.

Contrary to popular belief that carpools are a social challenge, 38 % opted for it to increase social interaction with like minded commuters working or living in their vicinity. Reduction of stress due to driving/commuting alone encouraged 31 % cent of the respondents to carpool.

The benefits of car pooling are many. As far as I can see the biggest drawback is it cuts flexibility. You are on your own if you miss the bus…er, in this case the car !