The severe traffic problem in major cities around the world is a cause of concern for any urban dweller. This problem is sure to keep getting worse as vehicles become cheaper and more of a necessity over time. Roads are not growing at the same pace as the rate of vehicles on them. This makes city commuting harder and more tedious. With the growing traffic problem, there’s an alarming increase in pollution. It’s common knowledge how vehicle emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect and then eventually play a big part in causing climate change. And let’s not to forget that fossil fuels that might not be available in the coming decades. It’s the need of the hour that we start making efforts in reducing the ever-growing carbon footprint and do something about it. Fortunately, today we have several startups trying to solve these issues by making city commuting easier.
These startups include ones that offer carpooling services to those that rent out scooters or bicycles for a healthier standard of living. Recently, a lot of startups have introduced a variety of options to help make city commuting tolerable and less frustrating for people. These cheaper alternatives are helping reshape our city transportation and are taking a lot of pressure off commuters. There are several perks to owning a vehicle, but when traveling in the city, we can find ourselves incredibly frustrated with traffic. Hence, it becomes essential for us to start looking at these alternatives.
Various companies are busy showing off their concept of autonomous vehicles that reduce emissions and reduce road accidents to a great extent. Waymo is an autonomous cab service from Google’s parent company Alphabet and is leading the way in self-driving car services. This promising startup wants to drop people to their nearest bus stop or train station in an autonomous cab.
Waymo has a tie-up with Phoenix’s transportation authority, Valley Metro. Initially, it plans only on dropping Valley Metro employees to work. They’ll be able to get autonomous cabs to work using Waymo’s app. The plan is to start off slow and learn about public transport trends. It hopes to have this service available to the general public very soon. It sounds promising and we can’t wait to see more automated Waymo cabs operating in more cities.
This electric scooter startup has already had a good response to its expansion in the United States. It currently operates in 30 U.S. cities in the U.S. and has already started to expand out of the country to make itself a global business. With its recent announcements to roll out in Paris and Tel-Aviv, it is a big step forward for the relatively new startup. It plans on starting off slow with a limited quantity of scooters in both the cities and expand based on demand.
Although in the past they’ve faced issues with regulations in various cities, they seem determined to dominate and grow in the market. At the moment, they seem to have a lot of competition to deal with as there are various other electric scooter startups in the market already. But Bird’s biggest competitor is Lime, which already has operations in various international cities and has recently brought its scooters to various European cities, including Paris. With many new startups offering electric scooters for hire, it’ll be exciting to see which ones leave a mark. It is a viable option for people who want to travel short distances because scooters are compact and hence dispatching them is not hard. These can be very handy for people who want to travel to the nearest grocery store or to the nearest train or bus station. The best part is that these electric vehicles are environmentally friendly, and that may be the best reason to switch from cars to these electric-powered bikes for city commuting.
This Indian startup was founded in 2015 and has already made a mark and gotten investments from Amazon India and the Amazon Alexa Fund. This bus-sharing service is dedicated to making Indian commuters’ life easy. It is meant to curb traffic congestion as well as to provide commuters with a more reliable public transport option. As more and more people are using shared transport these days, Shuttl seems to be doing the right thing at the right time. The startup also unveiled a feature called Chirp that allows users and drivers share location and information locally using voice authentication. Amazon’s Alexa Fund that invests in innovative voice technology was very impressed by this. With a big investor like Amazon behind it, Shuttl seems to be headed in the right direction.
This San Francisco-based minibus service is booming since its launch with only two buses back in 2014. It provides a cheap option for the average commuter by offering prices very similar to the local public transport. These buses travel on specific routes and people can sign up for these buses on Chariot’s website or app. The service offers a pay-as-you-go plan as well as monthly plans to its users. Chariot’s also surveying the app users and their location and trying to figure out new routes that are not well connected with public transport options. Chariot seems to have its work cut out for it. But, it’ll be exciting to see it expand to other cities in the future.
Using Big Data analytics, this startup helps provide people with direct bus routes to and from places where existing public transport is not available. It helps cut travel time by 40 percent. Launched in 2017, Zeelo is a very new startup but it has already received around €1.35 million in investments. Based out of the UK, this on-demand transport service is looking to expand its city commuting technology to other markets.
This New York-based startup is out to create a global on-demand transit service. They have also partnered with public transport companies and share their software and data with them. The rides booked through Via are as cheap if not cheaper than the public transportation options. The company currently operates in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., but they are trying to expand to other cities across the country and internationally as well.
This multifaceted service does it all from providing users with data to make city commuting easier to providing transport options. Citymapper has launched pool vehicles and bus services in areas with poor to no public transport availability. This London-based startup also allows users to book an Uber through its app. It currently operates in around 40 cities around the world. In London, it recently unveiled a bus-cab hybrid. This eight-seater vehicle is available for fixed routes across the city, especially in places with poor bus connectivity. As London’s regulations prevent large capacity buses to have private hire licenses, it came up with this concept.
Making city commuting better
All these startups with their different approaches help the regular commuter have options to commute while curbing traffic congestion. As more affordable and convenient options keep popping up, the problem of traffic congestion could be curbed and hectic city commuting could become a little less frustrating. These startups are gaining a lot of traction from other companies like Uber, Lyft, and Amazon, making it obvious that these startups have a good shot at changing the transport scenario in the near future. With these cheap, reliable, and innovative options on hand, the harassed commuter can hope to spend fewer hours in traffic jams, more time doing what they love doing, and save the planet all in a day’s ride.