Meru Cabs, one of India's biggest traditional taxi businesses, has embraced the sharing economy and launched CarPool by Meru, integrating its new service into its main brand app.
The move has raised some eyebrows in the Indian press, as it looks as if Meru has stolen a march on Uber by getting into the carpooling sector before its US-based rival.
Uber does have its own carpooling brand, UberPool. This is not currently available in India. Uber does have a billion dollars to invest in India, although its plans to introduce the carpooling brand to have never blipped the rumour radar.
The other big taxi player in India is Ola, owner of the eponymous aggregator app. It also owns operator Taxi For Sure, a business it bought for $200 million this March. Reports in India suggest that it does not have a carpooling business of its own either.
If anything, carpooling is very much the domain of the start-ups and the online travel agencies. Europe's Blablacar launched in India earlier this year, in partnership with ixigo.com.
And while Blablacar's warchest might not be as vast as Uber's or Ola's, it picked up $100 million in Series C funding more than a year ago, as a sign that the investment community sees the potential in carpooling.
Another European-based startup Tripda - part of Germany's Rocket Internet - has a business in India.
And Ibibo Group, which owns Indian online travel agent goibibo.com as part of a growing portfolio of niche travel tech businesses, recently launched a carpooling brand of its own, called Ryde.
Meru's CEO Siddhartha Pahwa told Forbes India that the carpooling market in India could be worth $15 billion a year.
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