Carpool Kathmandu – a new trend
A Facebook Group ‘Carpool Kathmandu’ has gathered 64,121 members within three weeks with the objective of providing carpooling due to an unofficial blockade by neighborhood country India mainly on petroleum products. The group was created by Sumana Shrestha who writes, “This page is to match the people who are willing to offer rides and who need rides. Please vet using your mutual friends circle before getting on the rides. Let us make this forum warm, welcoming and safe for every one to use. If someone only wants to offer ride to women, let them do that. You see at least someone is being helped. Also, please do not try to negotiate the rides, i.e. try to change the destination or route.”
The trend of ‘carpooling’, car sharing or ride sharing first gained popularity after World War II when there was a crisis of fuel, but it really started to take off in the 1970s, which became one of the most active eras in the history of ride sharing. According to the Census Bureau, by 1980 roughly 23.5% of Americans were carpooling, but by 2011 it had declined to 11%.
There are one million vehicles registered in Kathmandu Valley alone – the capital city of Nepal. Out of them 70,000 are motorbikes. The Carpool Kathmandu group has inspired lot of young people to share their ride with strangers by offering lifts. Many user post to ask and offer for a ride sharing or carpooling if their route matches. You can see lot of success stories and wefies (group selfies) of people who found a match. The group has gained members from other different parts of the country who want to have this trend in their places.
How does it work?
There are a few hashtags people use in the Facebook group to simplify communication:
#ASK – if you need a ride.
#OFFER – if you have a ride to offer
#FILLED – once the capacity is filled, please edit your hashtag to #FILLED
If you are in Nepal
If you are in Nepal from any country you can ask people for lifts during this fuel crisis situation – sharing a ride can help both of you out. Anyone who is from Carpool Kathmandu will stop and ask for your offer. There is also another secret Facebook Group called “Men’s Room Reloaded (MRR)”. All the member of MRR will also provide you free ride sharing if you want. These two groups claim that even when this fuel crisis is over they will still help when it is needed, which shows great humanity among Nepali People. Let’s hope this carpooling trend will continue over the coming days, and that international visitors will also be able to explore our country in a much more interesting way by sharing a car with local people!