Enhancing Commuter Safety🛡️ for One and All

Enhancing Commuter Safety🛡️ for One and All

So far, safety in employee transportation is seen as a statutory guideline that the company needs to implement. However, the rising number of incidents have triggered the corporate sector to go beyond the statutory requirement and adopt the best practices and technology to ensure not only physical security but information security of employees as well.

Let’s have a look at how technology, smartphone, and the internet work seamlessly to meet the highest quality of safety standards in employee transportation.

Kavita works with a leading MNC based out of NCR (National Capital Region). She stays at the far end of the city and hence uses the company provided employee transport service to commute to office and back home on a bus.

A seat for Kavita is auto booked every day as per her shift timings. Driver and bus details are sent to her on the Transport Company’s Mobile App before the start of the trip. Before boarding the bus, Kavita verifies the bus number and matches the face of the driver with the photograph displayed on her app.

Now, the driver starts the trip using facial recognition technology built in driver’s mobile app making sure that only the authorized driver is at the wheels. As soon as the trip starts, Kavita’s ride details are shared with her emergency contacts and they can track her bus as well.

As soon as the trip starts, Kavita’s ride details are shared with her emergency contacts and they can track her bus as well.

There is an AI-based camera inside the bus which automatically detects if the driver is overworked and shows any signs of drowsiness. On any such occurrence, the transport team is instantly alerted and even has an option to turn off the ignition remotely till a backup driver or bus is arranged for.

If the driver is overworked or shows signs of drowsiness, the transport team is instantly alerted and even has an option to turn off the ignition till a backup driver/bus is arranged for.

It is a 90 minutes long journey. The panic button right next to the passenger seat ensures that help is just a push away. Also, Kavita can use a virtual panic button on mobile app secretly without bringing it to the notice to anyone inside the bus. Any panic alert activates the Emergency Response Team which follows the standard procedures to make sure that employee is safe.

ERT has details of the guard, driver, and GPS location of the bus handy to take any swift action. Cases where the employee is not able to raise a panic alarm, alerts such as route deviation, over-speeding, and halt detection can alert the transport team of any danger to the employee.

The bus drops Kavita at her drop point and she immediately presses the de-board button on the app. When trip ends, all trip data is wiped out from driver app leaving no digital trail on the mobile phone.

The paperless operation ensures that no personal employee information remains on paper for unauthorized access. In minutes, Kavita receives an automated IVR call asking for the safe drop confirmation.

Post her confirmation, the system verifies her GPS location with her home location for dual verification. Kavita has reached her destination safe and sound, like always.

A recent survey at Kavita’s company shows that female employees now feel safer traveling in office vehicle and the high safety standards have brought down employee attrition rate as well for them.

Kavita’s ride story may sound futuristic but some of it is already in place. And in a couple of years, this will be the new normal. The only question is, who will be the first to adopt the new normal?

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Shuttl is the new age way to get to work. It’s an app-enabled, on-demand bus service that lets you travel to your destination and back in a safe, easy and stress-free way. Our mission is to take the pain away of commute and give everyone access to safe, affordable, reliable and dignified commute. Download the Shuttl app now and hop on to a super comfortable ride: https://goo.gl/7uHgYs

Electrifying Indian Commute⚡

Electrifying Indian Commute⚡

Indian cities today are one of the most polluted cities in the world, constantly ranking in the top 20 when it comes to poor Air Quality Index. With our ever-increasing population, this problem is expected to be more severe in the coming years.

Vehicular traffic accounts for more than 30% of the air pollution. Also, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels significantly add to global warming. To top it all, India imports most of its crude oil requirement, thus, increasing dependency on oil producing nations. These imports put significant strain on the Indian economy.

The only way to reduce air pollution and economic burden is to develop alternate sources of clean energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Vehicular traffic accounts for more than 30% of the air pollution.

Electric Vehicle (EV) technology possess a significant potential to help address the current issues of air pollution and fossil fuel dependency.

Understanding this problem, the govt. of India unveiled the National Electric Mobility Mission 2020 (NEMMP) to address problems related to air pollution, energy self-sufficiency and to boost domestic EV manufacturing capabilities.

Another significant commitment towards the adoption of EVs was recently made with the intent to replace most of the current vehicles in govt. service with EVs by 2030. To incentivize the purchase of EVs, the govt. started the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) Scheme, offering subsidies ranging from Rs. 1800 to Rs. 1.4 lakhs for different types of electric vehicles.

The spend on EVs and eco-friendly technology is now considered to be part of the corporate CSR budget. This incentivizes corporates to use EVs for their employee transportation services (ETS). EVs also account for significant carbon savings, which can be of great value for a global organization focused on reducing their carbon emissions.

Electric vehicle is a boon for organizations aiming to reduce their CO2 emissions.

Even when the govt. is doing its part to incentivize the adoption of EVs, there is a larger role to be played by EV manufacturing companies, electric distribution companies and even by the common man of India who is the ultimate consumer of electric technology.


Electric Vehicle = Clean energy + Reduced fossil fuel dependency

EVs available in the market today are almost 2 times costlier than the regular ICE vehicles due to high battery costs. Also, most of them are limited by range and battery charging requirements, which limits their wide-scale adoption. EV manufacturers must try to solve this situation and make them more affordable if there has to be a wide scale adoption of EV technology.

The electric distribution companies have a much bigger responsibility, i.e. to ensure that there are sufficient charging stations available across geographies so that range should not be a limitation for EV adoption. Just like we have petrol and gas stations almost everywhere, electric charging stations or battery swap stations have to come up across highways to ensure that an EV is not left stranded in the middle of the road due to lack of charge.

Though the current range of most EVs (varying from 50-200 km) address this problem, having charging stations within a radius of 3 to 5 km could help reduce the range anxiety of the typical EV customer.

Last, but the most important part is to be played by the consumer of EV technology- the common man. We have to understand that pollution and global warming affects each and every one of us and caring for the environment is not just the government’s job.

The most important role to be played by the consumer of EV technology- the Common Man

The cost-conscious Indian consumer may find it hard to digest the higher EV costs. However, we must understand that investing in EV means investing in our bright future. We need to show our commitment to EV technology by buying or renting at least one EV per household so that the EV manufacturers and electric distribution companies are incentivized to work at a faster pace. This will further help create an EV ecosystem, beneficial for everyone.

A broader question for each one of us is ‘What kind of environment are we planning to bequeath for our future generations?’. Do we want to ensure a sustainable future for our future generations or do we want to pollute the environment so much that it becomes uninhabitable for everyone in the near future?

The current human generation is at an inflection point in the history of the earth. A choice has to be made by all of us for a better future for generations to come. And this choice needs to be made soon before it is too late.


What’s next for employee transportation?

What’s next for employee transportation?

While transportation for an individual in any major city today has completely changed from what it was 5 years ago, and ridesharing has become a way of life, employee transportation in most places still relies on signatures on pieces of paper and manually created routes with no measure of whether that’s the best path to take.

Oftentimes, in large-scale operations, it is even difficult to know for sure if a trip was actually run or not, whether employees are actually using the company provided service or is it going to waste.

Lack of organization and transparency usually means that industry is ripe for disruption through technology.

As ride-sharing continues its move towards becoming the de-facto mode of transportation in dense urban centers and cars evolve to be “computers on wheels”, there will be multiple avenues where technology will bring in transparency, efficiency, and reliability.

Here are some things that are uniquely enabled by technology to make employee transportation safer, more comfortable and efficient:

Safer

Limited mobility remains a crippling constraint to increased participation of women in the workforce in India.

The lack of safe commute options can severely restrict the participation of women in the workplace.

According to the Census (2011), women represent only 15% of people traveling to work, much below the not-so-great national average of 22%.

At Shuttl, women represent 40% of all our passengers, almost twice the national average.

This abysmal condition could be changed by improving the levels of safety for transportation. Thanks to the omnipresent GPS devices, companies can now track all vehicles and quickly know if something goes wrong. These days, any given vehicle not only has a GPS device but also a smartphone with the driver and the passenger.

These multiple redundancies significantly reduce the chances of a vehicle “disappearing” anytime during a journey.

Automated routing ensures that no female employee is alone in a cab while also minimizing the travel time for employees and the cost for companies.

Boarding/de-boarding tracking ensures that the admin staff is always aware of a female employee’s whereabouts and can quickly act in case something seems off.

Safety features like
SOS button, Share Ride Details & Home-check enable Shuttlrs to keep calm on their daily commute.


Employees always have an option to raise an emergency alert available to them. In addition to a government-mandated physical panic button, the app being used by an employee for availing company transport could have an SOS button that can be used in case of an emergency.

Lastly, since all of this data is being recorded by the employer, this information can easily be shared with trusted family members, especially of the female employee, to help them with ease of mind while they are traveling to/from work. 

More efficient

Technology allows employee transportation to be more efficient in a way that would have been impossible with the old paper trail. There are basically two ways the cost of employee transportation can be reduced:

  •  By reducing the cost per seat

Routing algorithms available now reduce the cost per seat by reducing the number of kilometers that are run for the same number of employees.

Early application of machine learning helps to understand city specific routing peculiarities based on past routing data and continuously improving routes.

Moving people from cars to buses during the day is another shift that becomes easy through technology.

  • By reducing the number of empty seats. 

In the past, the idea of running a bus would seem like a big decision for any company because of the possible downside of seats running empty, which would take away all the efficiency gains achieved from running a larger vehicle.

The average occupancy in corporate transportation is 65%, whereas we run our entire fleet at an average occupancy of over 85%.

Combining employees across companies to ensure a higher occupancy would lead to an immediate 20% reduction in costs for transportation.

Multiple companies running their employee transportation on one platform would allow them to share vehicles to ensure that empty seats do not remain a major problem.

Companies would soon be able to reserve a few seats for their employees on a commuter bus running for the general public. Hence, drastically reducing their per employee cost of transportation by only paying for the seats that they use.

Greener

Since the primary source of cost in an employee transportation scenario is the cost of running a vehicle, any reductions in the cost would lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint of running the operation. And if you bring in electric vehicles into the mix, the green proposition becomes even larger.

A switch from regular cab to EV instantly leads to 50% reduction in CO2 emissions. The number can also go up to 90%.

Improved employee experience

Historically, any problems occurring during day-to-day operations have been resolved only after they have been reported by the driver or the employee.

GPS-based alerts allow us to provide more proactive alerts before an issue arises so that someone can take action on them before something goes wrong.

As every moving vehicle continues evolving towards a ‘computer on wheels’ future, technology will continue to play an increasingly greater role in dictating how employee transportation can be made more comfortable for employees while solving for greater efficiency.

For example, ETAs of vehicles can help you know if a vehicle is going to be late for a particular shift and if it would be better to give a replacement.

Knowing your daily trends and the availability of buffer vehicles nearby, the transportation management platform could easily recommend a replacement vehicle for you.

Alerts like overspeeding, stopping for too long, route deviation, etc. could be directly shown to the driver on his app instead of someone in the admin having to always keep an eye on his location and call a driver to ensure compliance.

Shuttl is dedicated to helping clients get the best in technology and fleet quality.

Shuttl is dedicated to helping clients get the best in technology and fleet quality for an impeccable commute experience for employees and great value to the employers.

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!

A group of people sitting at a train station

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In fact, World Resource Institute (WRI), a Delhi based think-tank found that Shuttl produces an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, 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.