KOLKATA: Paycuts and an urge to stay away from crowd, coupled with the lack of preferred modes of public transport, have forced people to look for alternatives and many are preferring to pool transport resources so that they can share the expenses and also have a comfortable and protected ride to and from work.
Professionals have innovated different kinds of pooling in the face of the Covid crisis. While there are some who work in the same office and live close by, there are others of the same housing complex who are choosing to go up to a common point and then branch out to come back to the meeting place at the end of the day again. What is best is, everyone is happy with the arrangements and are inspiring others in the vicinity to look for similar options.
Reaching office to work has become a necessity for many after the gradual easing down of lockdown norms. Carpooling with people we know and trust can be an effective way of reducing travel cost while ensuring commute hygiene.
Take the case of Pratim Dasgupta, a marketing professional who works in Ecospace in New Town. He lives in Baghajatin. His colleagues, Shubham Das and Prasanta Ray, live in Bansdroni, and another colleague, Sudip Thapa, lives in Garia. In the pre-Covid days, they would go to work separately, which would roughly be a commute of 30kms, costing Rs 370-400. “Most of our salaries slashed, we were desperate for a solution. Spending so much daily did not make any sense. So I offered to drive my car and take them with me. I first pick up the colleagues at Bansdroni and then move to Garia. We are happy that we end up spending only Rs 75 a day now,” said Dasgupta. Puneet Jhawar, an IT professional who lives at the Infinity Complex on Jessore Road, is pooling in with friends of the Lake Town area and he is happy. “Saves not only money but boredom too,” he laughed.
Bibhor Das, assistant registrar of the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, who lives in Bally and drives a car, has similarly been driving his deputy registrar finance Abhijit Bhattacharya, workshop attendant Amarendra Nath Polley and a lady outsourced employee while commuting to the Shibpur campus from his residence in Bally. “I follow a Bally-Belur-Liluah route these days just because it is economical for four of us to drive together to work. I admit that this would not have happened if we had not come so close together, thanks to Covid. There’s afterall, some positive in everything,” he reasoned.
Many of those who are pooling in now said that sometimes to avoid expensive cab rides, they would take buses but the scare has got to them so much that they cannot imagine moving in public transport for some time now. “Pooling has come like a Godsent for us,” said Dasgupta.