A Bangalorean Shares His uberCommute Experience

When Uber announced uberCOMMUTE in Bangalore, I was intrigued to see whether this carpool idea will ever work. Ive heard of and even signed up for some carpooling initiatives like RidingO (now part of CarzonRent), Spaceship and the Bangalore Carpool Facebook Group, but never got a single person to ride along.

It is tough to build a trust-based network, and I empathise given our early challenges with Momoe, trying to get people to trust us to pay money through our app.

So I signed up as an uberCOMMUTE driver last month. I was expecting some co-travellers in the South Bangalore area to join me and relieve me from the tedium of rush hour traffic. What I wasnt anticipating was the level of conversations with my co-commuters on my way to work and back. Bangalore is truly a city of startups, and I found a new way to discover the ecosystem! This is how it went:

I accept my first ride and wait for the rider outside my neighbouring apartment complex. Feels weird to wait for a stranger. I am fidgeting with the AC and wondering how I will recognise her. She comes over with a suitcase, so I have to open the boot and load the luggage too. She seems freaked out by the white license plate, and confirms that this is indeed the Uber she hailed.

And then she sits in the back seat. Awkward! This is certainly baptism by fire on how to be an Uber driver! Once I get over the driver feeling and clarify what Uber commute is all about, we start talking.

She is an interior designer. She works with a startup called Furdo. Is that like Furlenco, I ask. She seems offended. No! Its a new home design firm. You can choose a theme and they give you a 3D Virtual Reality walkthrough of what your furnished home will look like. And once you are happy with it, they make it real. Pretty cool! So it is a competitor to Livspace, I surmise. A short silence, and then she replies, yes. I hear a small sigh in her voice. A well funded competitor. Thats part of the game.

Furdo is based in Koramangala, is founded by Ishwar Sundararaman, Kiran Singh and Aravind Prakash Singh, and has raised $400K in angel funding from Bhavdeep Reddy of Indus Homes.

On that note, I drop her off at her office and head to my workplace. That first experience as a driver was awkward, and Im rethinking whether I want to do this. And then I get a notification saying I earned Rs. 80 for the ride. Heh heh. Carpooling and getting paid for it. Sounds like an incentive to do it again

The writer is  AVP,  Seller Services at ShopClues, and as you would’ve known by now, a startup enthusiast  

The main image  for this story was sourced from YouTube

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