An American tourist leaves his hotel in New Delhi. He stops next to the street and raises his hand in order to stop a taxi. After saying in English that he wants to go to the India gate, the driver and the tourist agree a price for the trip equivalent to four U.S. dollars. During the trip, the taxi stops at the call of a lady who, after a brief conversation in Hindi with the driver, goes into the vehicle and takes a seat next to the American tourist. The scene is repeated later with a man wearing a suit who seems to go to work. Before reaching India gate, the taxi stops twice. One to leave the lady go out and other one to leave the man next to an office building. When the taxi arrives at India gate the driver charges to the American tourist three dollars for the trip. Driving the same route, the driver has won twice than what he expected, three people have reached their destination and the three of them have paid a lower price than doing the trip alone.
Anyone who has traveled to certain countries of Asia or Africa has experienced this situation and although it may seem strange for Americans or Europeans, this transportation system is full of common sense. Every time that I have visited one of these countries, I have really enjoyed the benefits of this efficient mode of transportation. It’s fast, efficient and affordable for everybody. The system also offers another advantage, the taxi becomes an extension of the neighborhood and what is normally a private space, becomes a public space. Inside the vehicle there are talks about everyday life similar to those we have with any of our neighbors. It is like a car pool that you don´t need to plan in advance and where you will travel with people that you don´t know yet.
This transportation system occurs due to the overlap of two factors, lack of public transport network and lack of people owning a private car. However, necessity often generates solutions that are more efficient and rational than the ones that we use when we have a lot of resources available. The neighborhood taxi would be an excellent transportation system to combine with other public transport networks and would be particularly effective in dense urban areas, transforming a private need in a public service.