Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Sharing Economy: E-Carpooling

By Paul Lysek | Prague Daily Monitor |
26 June 2019

When I was a teenager, carpooling meant: We have one car and seven people; someone is going in the trunk. Later on we used to pick each other up on the way to work, a party or going camping. That was fun with no mobile phones or navigation devices. The concept was dying as people became busier and wealthier but smartphone has put it back in the mainstream – again, an adventure in travel for people who want to save resources and don’t mind travelling with strangers.

As with most “Sharing Economy” businesses, carpooling has opened an entirely new method of cheap, environmentally friendly, almost CO2 neutral travel. The app market is making this all possible through mini-programes that allow a user to punch their smartphone screen a few times and off they go. There are hundreds of them. I searched for a few seconds and found poparide.com from Canada, poolmyride.com for verified corporate employees, waze.com, karzoo.eu and many more. That was an English search – every country has a local copy, some countries like India have tens of options.

One of, if not the largest company in Europe, is BlaBlaCar. BlaBlaCar claims to have 12 million users per quarter, 45 million members, nearing one million tonnes of CO2 gas emissions savings, and increasing the average fill rate in a European car from an average of 1.7 a car, to 2.8. These are impressive numbers.

As with most modern apps, the user finds little resistance. One registers, fills a profile and then either looks for rides, or offers a spot in an upcoming trip between cities in their car. Users can choose legs of the trip, or full length trips. There are recommended pricing guidelines making it easy to base a price. The whole methodology being that the riders share the actual price of the trip, rather than the driver making profit on the ride. In that manner, both parties have no tax obligations.

So this summer, don’t be bummed if you are low on cash and can’t afford a vacation. A carpooling ride to South Africa can be had on the cheap – and it just may be the vacation you talk about for the rest of your life!

Another success story of The Sharing Economy – finding ways to use resources more efficiently.

Good luck travelers!

Paul Lysek