Travel services aggregator GoIbibo in an attempt to expand it’s portfolio and tap new areas is introducing inter-city ridesharing service goCars. Although the website is live, the service is yet to be launched. Ibibo Group already launched a similar service Ryde and now goCars, it is a redundancy to operate both. We have to wait and see whether Ibibo will rebrand Ryde as goCars and introduce the service or keep both.
Until then lets have a look at what GoIbibo says about the new service
Goibibo says that the user experience with goCars will be something unheard of before, and much much better than its competitors. Of course, you will be able to share the journey with fellow passengers who’re traveling between the same two cities, thereby saving money and time.
The company also says that the pickup and drop points will be near to the passenger, the driver will have a good background check and verification before they enroll for the service. Since you’re traveling with other people, you’ll be paying just for your seat, and not the whole car.
GoCash can be used for availing rides on goCars, company says. However, it is still not clear whether you’ll be paying one-fourth, one-third or half the price of the full car. It is also not yet clear whether there will be some fixed points in the city where the cabs can be taken from.
It looks like a really good idea, and an untapped area right now. However, if the company wants to focus on user experience, it must ensure the drivers are properly verified, can drive for long hours without fatigue and the cars are in good shape for our Indian roads.
This new service can be exploited by frequent travellers who otherwise take buses and trains to travel between two cities. For example, the number of daily travellers between Chandigarh and Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai and Gurgaon and Jaipur is quite high and this service can specifically benefit such people.
We’ll be able to analyze more as the company releases more details of the service. If priced right, this service could actually rival the existing offline inter-city taxi and buses services.
In the last one year that we have been working in Rural Tourism, we have come across many questions from our travelers that makes me understand the need to answer them on a public forum. Rural Tourism is still a new concept in India, and, as expected there are many questions around it. Here are answers to come common questions or rather myths –
1. Rural tourism is unsafe: If someone was destined to get mugged, it can happen in a flashy metropolitan as well. Over the last two years since I have been traveling to villages, I have found them safer than the cities. I have grown up in Delhi and can clearly see the difference in safety, hospitality, warmth and a sense of community in a city and in a village. We have had solo female travelers, couples, children and families who have felt safer in villages.
It also depends on the organization you are traveling with and the amount of ground work they have done with locals before sending you. Usually, it takes months if not years to train locals in tourism and its aspects.
Tip: Check the authenticity and professionalism of the organization you are traveling with. Look for their sustainability and training practices.
Indians also prefer it in large numbers and find it safe
2. Rural tourism = Discomfort: Rural does not always mean a dilapidated shack where you will have to sleep on the floor under the light of an oil lamp. In the last point I spoke about training. A responsible organization will always train locals on sanitation. Emphasis will be given on clean beds and washrooms. Rural tourism is a great way to give sustainable living to locals. And cleanliness is one of the basic requirements that any responsible Rural Travel company will take into account.
Tip: Check the facilities and photographs and ask your questions freely
I find such places more peaceful and clean to stay at rather than a hotel
3. Rural tourism costs nothing, so why charge for it: What I mentioned in last point about sustaining local communities brings me to the next point on charging. Most of the Rural population is currently being trained under western education system on learning computers and English and moving to cities. As a result cities are over burdened and villages are getting empty. Rural tourism is not different from any other form of tourism where you pay. The only difference is, your money goes directly to a local family and immediate community. A responsible community based tourism initiative will always give entrepreneurial opportunities to locals so that they do not have to migrate to cities. As a result, many art forms, languages, music, dances, and cultures are preserved. Rural tourism has the power to make these aspects an asset rather than a burden.
4. World is moving towards urbanization, why villages?: We are not against urbanization. It is just that we see the impacts of it in the form of cut-throat competition which leads to increasing crime, struggle for limited resources, degrading levels of cleanliness, impacts on our health and stress levels and a constant question in everyone’s mind as to who they really are. After having lost connection to our roots, we are neither completely western nor Indian. Moreover, we are loosing warmth and sensitivity towards our people, trust, love and responsibility towards our environment. Mahatma Gandhi once said – “The future of India lies in its villages”. This does not mean we remain backward, uneducated or poor. Everyone has the right to live a beautiful life. But only till the time that lifestyle does not begin to take a toll on those very humans it was meant for.
Rural Tourism is a tool to create a balance between urbanization and Rural lifestyle. This is very important for us to sustain.
5. The food and water will be below standard and unhygienic: Really? These days we are putting water purifiers in our homes and depending on mineral water because our rivers are too dirty to supply clean drinking water. Fruits and vegetables supplied in market are rubbed with oil to make them shine and injected with artificial colors to make them look beautiful. Our children are getting dependent of medications at an early age. Cancer has become as common as headache. The air we breathe in cities is so poisonous that many species of birds that once thrived have now either migrated or become extinct. Our children fall ill if they are left to play on a street. With each passing day, they are getting dependent on air-conditioned homes only.
On the other hand, I have seen 60 year old women climb a mountain daily and still manage to stay fit without any medicine. They do not need cosmetics to look beautiful or to prevent their skin from sagging. I don’t suggest that we should leave our homes and all migrate to villages. The point is, we are living in a myth. I have had some of the best organic food in villages cooked in homemade spices and butter. I have drank water from rivers and waterfalls and have never fallen ill. And I have played in mud and it only increased my immunity.
Rural Tourism is a way to bridge this gap. We do not want you to leave cities. We want you to become sensitive towards environment, our impacts on it and on how we can become responsible.
6. What is the difference between you and a Travel Agent: No difference except that – we give our heart and soul in making this country a better place to live using travel as a medium. We design training for villagers to enable them to earn a living from their own skill. For us, building relationships is more important than just getting a cheque from a customer. And that most of us left our plush corporate jobs to do this work.
Want to quit your job and go travelling but too skint or scared to take the leap? Take inspiration from Annie Londonderry, the first woman to cycle around the world. Coralie Modschiedler recounts her stirring tale.
On the morning of 13 January 1895, an enthusiastic crowd, giddy with anticipation, lined the streets of Marseille to see the arrival of a brave, young American woman in her early twenties.
Dressed in a man’s riding suit and astride a man’s bicycle, she had braved bitter cold and snow to reach the south of France from Paris. But despite the hardship, there she was, in the flesh: the famous, audacious Annie Londonderry – the first woman to attempt to cycle around the world.
A loud cheer went up and people waved and shouted as the petite, dark-haired cyclist wheeled by with one foot – her other foot, wrapped in bandages, was propped on the handlebars. Marseille was the last leg of her French sojourn and had been the most perilous so far.
“One night I had an encounter with highwaymen near Lacone [about 50km north of Marseille],” Annie later wrote in the New York World.
“There were three men in the party, and all wore masks. They sprang at me from behind a clump of trees, and one of them grabbed my bicycle wheel, throwing me heavily.”
“I carried a revolver in my pocket within easy reach, and when I stood up I had that revolver against the head of the man nearest me. He backed off but another seized me from behind and disarmed me. They rifled my pockets and found just three francs.”
“My shoulder had been badly wrenched by my fall, and my ankle was sprained, but I was able to continue my journey.”
Annie was a bold spirit who reinvented herself against all odds
While the dramatic encounter with highwaymen quickly became a staple among Annie’s many stories, it was never mentioned in the local press.
There was of course another explanation for why Annie pedalled into town with one foot wrapped in bandages – the inflammation of her Achilles tendon a few days earlier – but surviving a dramatic robbery made a much better story.
Annie never let the facts get in the way of a good tale. By then, she was reportedly halfway through a 15-month bike ride, a challenge she was undertaking to settle an extraordinary, high-stakes wager between two wealthy Boston businessmen.
If she could cycle around the world in that time and manage to earn $5,000 during her travels, she would earn an additional $10,000 on her return.
Her celebrity status was on the rise and the French press had been writing about her prolifically since her arrival at the northern port of Le Havre in December. She was a legend in the making.
Unbeknownst to the crowd of admirers who had gathered to see her in Marseille, the young cyclist from Boston was in fact Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, a married Jewish working mother of three.
What’s more, Annie was not just a cyclist on a round-the-world tour, but a consummate self-promoter and inveterate storyteller who was about to turn her journey into one of the most outrageous chapters in cycling history and herself into one of the most colourful characters of the 1890s.
“I didn’t want to spend my life at home with a baby under my apron every year,” she would often say.
With the cycling craze and women’s movement for social equality in full swing in the mid-1890s, the bicycle represented to Annie a literal vehicle to the fame, freedom and material wealth she craved.
The rest of her journey, which would take her all over Asia and back to the US via the harsh Southern California desert, would be filled with harrowing adventure, frequent danger and endless drama.
Her increasingly outlandish tales – from witnessing the First Sino-Japanese War, to encountering one of the most infamous outlaws of the Old West, John Wesley Hardin, to being run over and almost killed in California – would soon attract increasing doubt over her alleged exploits.
“I shall never forget the horrible scenes I witnessed at Port Arthur. We arrived there after the butchery, but the dead remained unburied. I saw the bodies of women nailed to the houses, the bodies of little children torn limb from limb,” Annie told the New York World.
“We were captured by the Japanese and were thrown into a cell, and left without food for three days.”
“While thus imprisoned a Japanese soldier dragged a Chinese prisoner up to my cell and killed him before my eyes, drinking his blood while the muscles were yet quivering.”
Was any of it true? Almost certainly not. Annie knew how to spin a yarn.
It sure was a very lucrative business – her popular history lectures, signed photographs and advertising space on her bike generated more income than she had ever earned as a journalist back in Boston.
Whether she was viewed as a hustler making a buck, as in Singapore, or as a free-thinking young woman making a statement, as in Saigon, it’s clear that Annie made an impact wherever she travelled.
Annie cared little about the negative press. From her point of view, the more ink she got, the better.
For the thousands of people she met along the way, and countless others who read about her, Annie’s journey created memories of a smart, vivacious, charismatic and fiercely independent woman, memories that no doubt lasted a lifetime as they did for Annie – who of course completed the journey 15 months to the day she set off in Boston.
Annie Londonderry’s incredible journey is told in Peter Zheutlin’s thoroughly researched Around the World on Two Wheels (2007), which is published by Kensington Publishing Corp and available to purchase online.
Creating a great travel portrait isn’t always easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding and lead to memories that will last a lifetime. I sat down with Jennifer Spelman, known for her engaging and poignant street photography, and who led my Santa Fé Photographic Workshops tour of Havana, about her tips for making compelling portraits. […]
Today I leave for Mongolia. I’ve had this trip on the calendar for nearly a year and it’s genuinely surreal to finally be packed and ready to go to the airport. This will be my most rugged adventure to date. I’ll be camping (and I don’t mean Glamping) throughout western Mongolia, traveling off-road in a […]
Pyongyang, North Korea – April 2016 Some have speculated that the Pyongyang Metro is an elaborate hoax. The three stations that tourists are allowed to visit are the only stations that exist.* All of the commuters are actors. Everything about North Korea is an illusion, they say. You can’t trust anything you see. It is […]
“He measures time by the difficulty of the terrain, the wind, and the mood of the weather.” Diary of a Traveller is the site of Zahariz Khuzaimah, a nomadic Malaysian adventurer, photographer, and filmmaker.