Taxi Sharing Points to Future Transport

Taxi Sharing Points to  Future Transport	Taxi Sharing Points to  Future Transport

Shared taxi services are a fairly common sight in Iran's urban landscape with yellow and green taxis circling the streets and boulevards.

This form of transportation is common across the world with several countries using the hybrid taxi-bus service as their main means of transport.

For westerners visiting countries like Iran, which widely uses this system of transport, usually get a little freaked out by the genuine ease of people travelling together.

However, developed economies are now also spearheading their own transport revolutions with autonomous driving pushing ahead with similar methods of getting from A to B.

In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased a new idea for a fleet of self-driving buses that could solve problems with traffic congestion and mass transit in densely-populated cities.

Musk made the announcement at a transportation conference in Norway, which was looking at ways to develop travel in future.

"We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus but would solve the density problem for inner-city situations," he said. "Autonomous vehicles are key ... I don't want to talk too much about it. I have to be careful what I say," according to The Verge.

So, by looking at this statement, Musk was referring to shared transportation most probably on the smaller size to meet the unique demand of several passengers at once.

  Future Frontier

Musk is also right to be looking into this form of transport as a key to future getting around. Personal vehicle ownership in western countries is not what it once was and in several countries, the younger populations are generally forgoing car ownership entirely.

Tesla is probably the right company to be leading this renaissance in public transport. The company has already had a decent amount of success with its previous models.

Tesla has been at the forefront of self-driving technology, introducing the Model X last year with the semi-autonomous autopilot feature.

Two months ago, Musk unveiled the still-unfinished Model 3, which had the biggest pre-order in history with over 400,000 vehicles with deposits on them.

Telsa and Musk have already disrupted the transport industry, putting traditional car manufacturers on the back foot with their offering of pollution-free vehicles.

With the announcement of his minibus-like vehicle, which will be able to stop at several locations, he is also likely to disrupt into other locals like buses and taxis.

Research into the developing economies' transport systems like Iran will likely help make car and transport companies like Tesla, Uber and Lyft understand the human component of such an offering.

  Local Scene and Complications

At least two app-based transport hailing companies are currently operating in Tehran. These are the Rocket Internet-backed Snapp and the French-backed Tap30.

Both these two applications have had a moderate success in the local market, but so far have not made inroads into the smartphone-owning market.

Nor do they offer a shared taxi service as part of their offering. Their model remains the private taxi service called "Darbast" or closed door in English.

The idea of shared taxis in Iran, although not unique, is somewhat complicated even for Persian speakers, as several routes may depart from the same location.

If Musk gets his way, then a supped-up version of this traditional transport method may be the future of traffic-less movement.