There have been numerous car pooling services launched over the last few years and while they mostly get a lot of love from mainstream media, very few of these services are active anymore. The challenge with car-pooling service has been the anonymity of fellow commuters and this is where SmartMumbaikar comes in.
The Mumbai based service (from the developers of m4mum) is built on top of Facebook and all you need to do is share journey/travel/time etc details and the system will recommend fellow commuters.
The service is currently available only in Mumbai and is well thought-through. For instance, if you are not from Mumbai, you can still invite your friends (who stay in Mumbai, as mentioned in Facebook profile) to the service.
The basic hypothesis of the service lies in trusting FOAF (friend of a friend) or FOAFonFB, i.e. friend of a friend (on Facebook) and while it does bring the social connect to pooling/finding a commuter, do you think the access point, i.e. Facebook is the right mechanism?
Earlier, a lot of services (like Commuteeasy) relied on a similar friendly connections (sans Facebook), but the key challenge they faced was matching the timing/logistics etc. Do you think a SMS based/Mobile app based service will work better, after all not everybody has an active GPRS? Also, we are hoping that there are ways to control one’s information (after all, there is a privacy concern regarding sharing one’s daily commute).
Overall, an interesting concept and a different way to look at commuting/ride sharing. If you are from Mumbai, do give SmartMumbaikars a dekho and share your suggestions/comments.