Beating pollution, one seat at a time.

Beating pollution, one seat at a time.

There‘s a lot more heaviness in the air. The signs are ominous. Visibility has gone down and suddenly a lot many people are seen wearing pollution masks and talking about fresh air. The basic right has become a luxury. It is not surprising at all. While the months of November- December bring in the festive season, it also adds to its woes.

A recent research suggested that air pollution leads to a decline in cognitive abilities. Warning on the lasting impact of pollution on our health and well-being goes out almost every day now. Key causes range from the notorious crop burning in the north/north-west to the never-ending and ever-increasing vehicular pollution in urban areas.

There are so many reasons for the bad air that engulfs us – but the chief culprit is vehicular pollution. Delhi-NCR has 556 motor vehicles up and running, per one thousand people. That means there’s a private vehicle for every second person in the city![i] No wonder the air quality in the region remains under the “severe” category for several days in a row.

To make matters worse, PM 2.5* known as ‘fine particulates’ was recorded at 264 micrograms against the safe limit of 60 micrograms just 2 days before Diwali![ii]

Such fine particles are also known to trigger or worsen diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

Shuttl, along with the Gurgaon Police authorities, recently distributed over 15,000 masks in Shuttl buses to help curb the impact of deadly air pollution engulfing the citizens of Delhi-NCR.

While solutions are being sought after in ways to minimize the effect of pollution, can we also reduce our car-dependency, and search for alternate options?

Perhaps it is a good time to shift to Shared Mobility…

A way that reduces our carbon footprint, city congestion levels, and all the related pollution is shared mobility.

Opt for smart buses which are road-space and carbon-efficient. Indeed, buses move a large group of people in the most efficient manner.  On-demand, smart buses offer safe and reliable commuting and while there were limited options like this before – they are now available for office goers!

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In fact, World Resource Institute (WRI), a Delhi based think-tank found that Shuttl produces an equivalent amount of CO2 compared to a public bus and is 10 times more carbon efficient than a private car.

Shruti, a young professional from Gurgaon, has already made the shift. She prefers a reliable and safe mode of commute over her car which she leaves daily at her home now. By choosing Shuttl, she is happy to do her bit towards a greener environment.

Commuting from Neharpar, Faridabad to Gurugram every day, here is what she has to say:  “Shuttl acts as a reliable commuting option and a safe group-based commute for me. I do not have to be exposed to the rains, smog, or dust that I used to face earlier. I don’t need to use my car or worry about parking. I am doing my bit to reduce congestion. I think everyone should try it out.”

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References

[i] https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/delhi-has-556-motor-vehicles-per-one-thousand-people-118031901217_1.html

[ii] https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/delhi-pollution-air-quality-remains-very-poor-situation-to-worsen-118110500069_1.html 

*What is PM 2.5?

Commonly written as PM2.5, it refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers. Since they are so small and light, there’s an increasing chance of humans inhaling them deep into the lungs.


When in Aizawl, ​do not blow ​the ​horn!

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Stuck in traffic and getting subject to the constant blaring of horns? On the road amidst chaos and being greeted by all the noises? Honking is one of the biggest causes of noise pollution. Drivers honk while commuting to display their urgency, frustration, discontentment, and displeasure. Honking has become an extension of feelings on the road.

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It is embedded in the behaviour and road traffic culture of our country. Despite various campaigns being run to avoid it, the situation has not changed in most of the Indian cities. Noise pollution can cause headaches, hypertension and various other cardiovascular diseases. In India, where the traffic movement is slow and chaotic, stress and irritability can cause hostility and even road rage. These risks are more pronounced for the citizens of Delhi-NCR and Mumbai.

A 2017 World Economic Forum report states that Delhi is the 2nd noisiest city in the world. It is followed by Cairo and Mumbai, ranking 4th on the list.[i] A recent study by Mimi Hearing Technologies GmbH- digital hearing app founders- found that “the average city dweller has a hearing loss equivalent to 10-20 years older than their actual age. Citizens of Delhi have the most, with a hearing age of 20 years older.” [ii]

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But, Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram, has become the first Indian city to adopt a ‘No Honking’ policy. This is an organic citizen initiative and hasn’t been legislated or implemented by the authorities. Despite this, there has been a huge and positive response by the citizens who are responding to this change enthusiastically.

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What can we learn from this?

Noise pollution caused by incessant honking can be tackled in two ways. First and the foremost is to bring a behavioural change in the society where people consciously take the decision to shift towards no honking, as we witness in Aizawl. People respect and follow the rules and maintain traffic discipline.

However, sometimes honking becomes the necessary evil as road traffic gets bad with the excessive number of vehicles on the roads. For instance, the data collected till May 2017 from Delhi’s transport department mentions that there are 10,567,712 registered vehicles in Delhi. The majority of these vehicles are two-wheelers – 6,648,730, followed by the registered cars which are 3,172,842 in number. [iii] These statistics raise concern over the number of vehicles on roads and the ensuing noise pollution caused by them. As a result, there is a need to bring a structural change in the urban transportation.

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Shared bus mobility is the most efficient and environment-friendly way to move millions of commuters through congested cities and consequently, control the noise levels on the roads. A 2012 study by IIT Madras states that the average occupancy in buses is 20 whereas the average occupancy in cars and two-wheelers is only 2.2 and 1.2 persons, respectively. The study further mentioned that the buses are the most popular means of transport that cater to 60% of Delhi’s total demand.[iv]

Shuttl ’s app-based smart bus service is dedicated to providing shared mobility solutions to commuters. Shuttl’s bus-based model encourages a shift away from private vehicle ownership to equitable, affordable, and accessible smart mobility solutions. It also showcases the role of the private sector in contributing to and transforming the way urban commuters travel.

That is why increasing the role of shared mobility through the contributions made by both the public and private sector have the potential to make Indian cities safer and noise-free.

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References

[i]https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/these-are-the-cities-with-the-worst-noise-pollution/

[ii]http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Delhi%E2%80%99s%20ambient%20noise%20levels%20influenced%20by%20traffic%20flow.pdf

[iii]https://scroll.in/latest/839608/delhi-has-more-than-one-crore-registered-vehicles-data-reveals

[iv]http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Traffic-chaos-costs-Rs-60000cr-annually-05022017005017, http://www1.m.businessinsider.in/delhites-wasted-rs-60000-crorea-year-by-standing-in-traffic/articleshow/56981744.cms

 

A moment to renew our resolve. Shuttl wins Ashden Award 2018

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More than 3 years ago, two dreamers set out on an audacious journey to solve the problem of congestion & pollution in urban cities of India. They saw how 20% of the people in cars occupied 80% of the road space. They witnessed how women were forced to endure harassment in overcrowded metros & buses.

We believed that the solution lies in providing an affordable, clean and comfortable mode of commute. Not many believed us. They wondered how a bootstrapped startup could afford to run a service which even the government needs vast funds to operate. But as they say, dreamers see what others don’t.

We launched our services with a single Innova. On the first day, 12 people took a ride and as if by magic, we had served office rides to 100 people in a week. We knew we were solving a real pain. Slowly more people starting believing in our vision and a small team of 5 grew into a passionate team of 100 in a few months. Everyone focused to solve for the pain of commute.

Challenges were so many, that it was easy to lose hope. But recognition along the way kept our spirits high. When we received the ConnectKaro Award for sustainable urban transportation in just a year, we knew our service model was sound. After receiving the Safest Commute award from FICCI in 2017, we knew our features were helping women in a big way. But an international recognition was way out of our dreams.

Recognition by Ashden is something we didn’t expect would happen so early in our journey. It still feels surreal to go to London and being recognized as a solution not just for India, but for every congested city in the world. The real thank goes to our customers, who always expect more from us and keep pushing us to outdo our own expectations.

The Ashden Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility has renewed our resolve to solve for commute pain for every office goer in India today and the world tomorrow.

On this World Environment Day, let’s say NO to single-use-plastic

Today, the incredibly versatile and unbelievably cheap “plastic” is a man’s favorite resource. It is ideal for many applications but is also the leading cause of many environmental issues. Worldwide, nearly 2 million single-use plastic bags are distributed every minute.

 

Global plastic pollution by the numbers: The facts are overwhelming

  • 100,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year
  • It takes 100 years for plastic to degrade in the environment 
  • 90% of bottled water and 83% of tap water found to contain plastic particles 
  • In the last decade, we produced more plastic than in the whole last century!

Erik Solheim, head of United Nations Environment, believes the
war is not against plastic, but against its thoughtless use. Keeping reduction of ‘single-use plastic’ in mind, the focus should be on its smart and safe use.
According to the India Times, India is responsible for an astonishing 60% of the plastic that is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.

However, we are on the road to progress already. Last year, Delhi introduced a ban on single-use plastic like cutlery, bags, cups, straws, etc.

 

Single-use plastic products

And this year, India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day, taking place on June 5. With Beat Plastic Pollution” as this year’s theme, the world, especially India, is coming together to combat single-use plastic pollution.

What can ‘we’ the working professionals do?

We, the working professionals, can also play a vital role in this cause. By reducing our dependency on the single-use-plastic, we can significantly impact the plastic levels in our environment. Here is the list of 3 such mindful choices:

Disclaimer: Shuttl is neither a sponsor or nor a partner to any of these services. This article contains a list of environment-conscious brands like Shuttl, which are working towards a common cause – making this world a better place.

 

1. BYOB: Bring your own bags made of Jute, cloth or paper

Every year the world uses up to 5 trillion plastic bags, that’s nearly 10 million plastic bags every minute! However, alternatives to plastic bags are convenient to use and easily available in the form of eco-friendly material like jute & cloth.

Jute bags

 

Jute bags have a very low carbon & water footprint, are biodegradable, strong and highly durable.

Green Handle,  a startup with a mission to provide eco-friendly solutions to customer and society, offers a great collection of jute bags for the everyday use.

 

Cloth and other eco-friendly bags

 

Eco Right makes eco-friendly living fun with their vibrant collection of fabric-based bags.

2. Carry reusable water bottles and cups on the go

We buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute! Yes, you read it correctly. But you know what, it’s actually cooler to carry your own bottles and coffee mugs, with your style.

 

 

One planet zero provides a one-stop solution for on-the-go travel products with zero wastage.


3. Say No to disposable straws and cutlery

Did you know more than 500.000.000 straws are used daily, enough to wrap them around the globe almost three times each day? We all can easily avoid using disposable plastic cutlery with these travel-friendly products:

Pappco, is another service that is making the world less dependent on plastic. All their products are made with 100% disposable plant-based raw material.

The list of environment-conscious practices is endless. What’s needed is an intent to keep our planet healthy. So are you ready to adopt the green good behavior today!

Which single-use plastic are you giving up? Tell us in the comments below.

Working mothers, how do you make it look so easy?

Working mothers, how do you make it look so easy?

Preeti’s day typically starts with getting her 7-year-old child, Sahil, ready for school. She makes him breakfast, packs him lunch while simultaneously prepares herself mentally for the tasks waiting for her when she gets to her desk.

As soon as she drops him to the bus stop, she knows she’s already getting late for work. She rushes back home, gets ready and packs something to eat in her Shuttl commute. Like every day, she reaches at 9 am, checks her mail, and goes to attend the meeting.

“Being a working mother is quite challenging. Completing my morning household chores and reaching the office is a task in itself. And this is just the start of the day.”, exclaims Preeti.

An average workweek for an employee falls at 40-50 work hours. Add in grocery shopping, pediatrician meetings, sick kids, managing household and juggling schedules, and the average working mother works a whopping 98 hours per week, a recent study by Welch concluded.

Endless household chores along with a full-time job is an overwhelming part of a working mother’s life. This is where companies play an important role:

A women-friendly workplace ensures that a crucial aspect of life such as raising a baby isn’t a hindrance for talented and educated mothers, willing to advance in their career path.

Yamini Galhotra, HR Manager at Shuttl and a doting mother knows what all it takes to be a working mom and how an adequate work-life balance is the key to excel, both personally and professionally.

She also emphasizes on the fact that little things go a long way, like understanding the basic needs of a working mother:

Images_2                                                                                                           “Flexible timings aids working mothers like me a lot in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. A good company understands the basic requirements of working mothers and lets them advance at a steady pace, giving them ample growth opportunities.”

Creating women-oriented working policies like flexible working hours and “work from home” enables mothers to function more productively.

What’s more important is it lets them be there for life’s big moments like a child’s birthday, his parent-teacher meetings or when he just needs his mother with him.

She says, “My biggest fear is not being there for my child when he needs me. Due to the work from home policy, I have never missed being there for him when he’s sick. It also allows me to take short breaks to visit the doctor with him. The relief I get is unexplainable.”

Access to safe and easy commute is another significant element that gives working mothers the time to sleep or relax leaving them energetic before they reach their home/office.

Shilpi, Manager- B2B Operations at Shuttl, is one such mum who finally finds relief in her Shuttl commute, where she sleeps her tiredness off:

Images_1                                                                                                              “Being a sleep deprived mother, I can complete my sleep quota while travelling to work, in case of paucity of rest timings and also get ample time to think, analyze and prioritize my work while travelling back home.”

So dear mothers, we’ll never know how you finish your day job and then rush home to start your other, harder, more demanding job.

It is truly said that working mothers epitomize the term “there is no rest for the weary.” After all, they are the employees who don’t get any weekends off.

Today on the occasion of Mother’s Day, we thank you for doing the hardest job in the world and making it look so easy. Shuttl wishes every incredible mother out there, a very Happy Mother’s Day! We look up to you, after all, you are the “superheroes in disguise”.

 

Be the driver of your life (not your car)

Be the driver of your life (not your car)

Rohan saw his friend Aditya’s everyday commute struggle. His professional life was crumbling down to a mundane routine of spending one-third of it in office and another part going back and forth to the office.

Aditya, a software engineer by profession, drove daily to his office in Gurugram. Due to his tiring routine, he had no energy (or time) for family, friends, or any of his hobbies, as a matter of fact.

With the upsurge in the number of vehicles on road every year, one can witness an Aditya in every second man driving his or her way to the office. They’re tired, they’re stressed and they want to feel at ease while commuting to the office.

One day Aditya finally decided to leave his car at home, took a Shuttl and discovered what he can do with his saved time. He soon realized how much he was missing out on his valuable commute time.

Like Aditya, there are many people driving on a congested road, looking for a way out.

With the coming-of-age commute services like Shuttl, 40% Shuttlrs short on time but high on the quest for quality have decided to leave their personal cars at home.

A recent Shuttl consumer survey revealed that by choosing Shuttl to reach the office, 50% users think they can utilize their commute time productively. Also, as many users feel more energetic during the day. But what does all this mean?

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Sitting hands-free, one can read that book they were always planning to, watch the movie their friend gave or just simply doze off. With Shuttl, the commute time is yours to live.

Driving a car is not a smart use of time anymore. It takes a toll on your finances, health (unnecessary stress & pollution) and most importantly, takes away your commute time.

No wonder it’s a no-brainer why 65% Shuttl users feel that their need to own a car has decreased in the last few years.

Instead of being time (and hands) bound by driving every day, why not utilize it in doing things you love to do for a change? Why not take life in your hands? With Shuttl, be the driver of your life, not your car!

Make your commute to work, work for you

Make your commute to work, work for you

Sonia Varma, a 34-year-old marketing manager, would leave her office in Gurugram around 6 pm on weekdays and would be home in South West Delhi’s R K Puram just in time to catch up with her family over evening tea. But that was eight years ago! She covers the same distance now but reaches home almost daily after 8 pm, thanks to the increase in traffic and frequent snarls.

Sonia’s case is not unique. This is the story of most commuters in Delhi-NCR who are now spending more time commuting on roads to and from work, than even a few years back.

“According to a study, time travelled on Delhi roads has doubled in the last 6 years.” Source: HT

However, every coin has two sides. Even if we can’t avoid the seemingly never ending traffic, can we reclaim our time to accomplish more in life?

A good way to approach shared commute is by striking a conversation with your fellow traveller. It not only serves as a good networking option, but also has a de-stressing effect on our mind.

Another new and preferred options are podcast and audiobooks. While podcasts offer free & readily available content, audiobooks act as the companion for booklovers who avoid straining their eyes while traveling. Nowadays, there are certain news apps like “The Guardian” which read the news to you. Technology really is a boon for all us, isn’t it?

Learning new languages, taking new courses on Coursera or watching your favourite TV series, you can save your weekend time to pursue your interests by using your commute time well. Even after a hectic day, most of us tend to think, reflect and gather our thoughts at night. Some of us take it to another level and pen down our thoughts in the form of poetry or short notes. Long commutes are the best time to pursue your hobby!

Our recent survey shows that Shuttlrs prefer to spend their commute time productively. While 62% Shuttlrs like to occasionally read, 55% Shuttlrs catch up on sleep and 35% use the commute time to complete their pending work. Great ways to make the best of your long commute.

With so many interesting ways to use our commute as our extended home time, we would no longer envy our colleagues who live just minutes away from work. So, make the best use of that traffic jam and do things that you normally wouldn’t have time for.