Changing Modes of Commute in Developing Countries   – Why child safety is important.

Man has been a mobile creature for the longest time. Every textbook states that transportation has been a means of advancement and change throughout history, and it can be corroborated rightfully so if we carefully examine the evolution of the way we have chosen to commute over the years. Yet, as our lives continue to evolve drastically, so has our means of commute-related transportation. With an increasingly hectic lifestyle, convenience is of utmost importance to all and commuting is the one aspect of the day which everyone wishes to make as hassle-free as possible. According to a Deloitte report, 57 percent of Indian customers prefer to use ride-hailing services rather than driving their own cars. The figure is greater than in China, the United States, Germany, and Japan, where 53, 29, 32, and 31 percent of customers use car-hailing to commute instead of owning a car.

We have come full circle where vehicle ownership does not solely govern our choice of transport for daily commute once again. For heavily populated metro cities in developing nations, there has been a mushrooming rise in the practice of car-hailing.

As the purchasing power of commuters in developing countries grows, public transportation may not be the preferred option for everyone. As a result, car-hailing is the second-best alternative, or, more likely, the option that the urban population chooses more willingly today. Apart from it being convenient, as one can track the driver right through the app or even pay there, these are gaining mass popularity. As most of these vehicles run on CNG or there is a huge push from these companies to turn their fleet into EV, a large chunk of the student and working population is opting for these alternatives as they aid in building a sustainable future. Furthermore, the cost efficiency of car-hailing was comparatively higher in comparison to having one’s own vehicle

Last year, Uber supported 14 million rides each week in India, according to the American ride-hailing company, which secured the top spot in this vertical of our global markets. According to Aman Madhok, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, who commented on the results found on the ride-hailing patterns of people in developing countries, “10-20 kilometers per journey is the ‘sweet spot’ travel distance most preferred for considering ride-hailing choices,” according to a survey on ride-hailing in India.

According to the same poll, the majority of frequent Uber or Ola users said ride-hailing was more cost-effective than car ownership during such times when the fuel prices are at their peak in developing nations. This is especially true among the paid middle class, where almost two-thirds of frequent users view ride-hailing to be more cost-effective than owning a car. More so than ever before, parents are opting for these services on a frequent basis as their work hours barely allow them to cover long distances to drop children to school and back or take them to other social gatherings or upskilling classes.

Families and car hailing.

In a separate study, 450 people said they were the parents or legal guardians of children under the age of ten. Thirty-seven percent, or 307 people, had used ride-hailing. Among those who had used ride-hailing, 253 people (or 82 percent) said they had done so with their children under the age of ten.

A number of parents in the contemporary era are all about making their children develop a sense of independence and ride-hailing, with tech-integrated apps that constantly show the location of the vehicle are a huge plus, according to them. It helps a child develop a level of self-confidence that might never be achieved by commuting with parents every day. They develop better communication and navigation skills as a result of this.

Is car sharing family friendly?

Yet, the car hailing eco system are not without issues. A number of parents have raised concerns about no provision of appropriate child safety seats while riding in an Uber, Ola, or other ride-share vehicles with their families. Similarly, there have been instances when parents might have been interested in hailing a cab for a young one, but due to a lack of safe car seat options, they might have chosen not to. When it comes to using car-hailing services, parents ranked having child-safety features installed in a vehicle as the most crucial factor to consider when choosing a mode of transportation for their children.

Seventy-four percent of millennials favor app-based cab services over regular cabs for ride-hailing. Given that this generation will soon be parents, it is past time for services like Lyft, Ola, and Uber to beef up their child-safety vehicular measures. This would not only help them tap into a larger demographic but also holistically improve their brand image by adding an arc of child-related safety measures. Models such as “Piggy Ride,” a Bangalore-based start-up that is India’s first cab service dedicated solely to the transportation requirements of children, provide customized trips to children aged 2 to 18, has seen a rapid growth in its sales.

Such modules that take into consideration the needs of parents with young children would significantly augment the safe travel options for children apart from adding a steep curve to their graph of growth by introducing such child-centric means of commute services.