Aimed at curbing pollution and decongesting urban roads, the road transport and highways ministry, in a first, plans to issue national level comprehensive guidelines soon that will spell out details for shared mobility. The guidelines will especially special focus on private car pooling services.

“We will issue draft guidelines on private car pooling along with broad guidelines for taxi aggregators soon, under the Motor Vehicles Act. Based on this, states can make their own rules for the states…meetings (with states) have already begun," a senior government official told Mint.

The Centre and the state governments have been trying to curb the growing menace of pollution on a war footing and have take various steps such as the Delhi government’s massive car rationing or the ‘odd even’ scheme.

A report by the road transport and highways ministry in December, 2016, had recognized the need for “national level policy intervention to promote shared mobility over private vehicle ownership to reduce congestion and pollution in urban agglomerations".

Currently, there are some startups such as Quick ride, SRide, Bla Bla Car, that offer private carpooling services across states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, New Delhi, among others. Formal guidelines anchored by the Centre, under the recently amended Motor Vehicles Act, is expected to give clarity to companies, based on which they can expand the scope of services, without any regulatory hurdle.

The rules will include submitting know your customer (KYC) details of drivers and commuters, to ensure safety, the official cited above said. There could be also be a cap on the number of rides that a car owner can offer in private carpooling, to ensure that it does not turn into a commercial business, the official explained.

“We are also exploring ways to see if states claim a portion of revenue from such services but we are yet to decide on this (on whether states will claim revenue)," the official said.

According to a report released by the NITI Aayog, shared mobility has quite a few potential benefits, most of which arise from an increase in system efficiency through higher asset utilization and improved connectivity.

“Whereas private vehicles often sit idle, or with low occupancy, shared vehicles are often better utilized, with more passengers and goods in available vehicle space and higher utilization, leading to reduction in total vehicle kilometer travelled, lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions and lower cost of transportation," the government’s policy think tank had said in a report last year.

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