carpooling

Summer festivalling? Carpool with our friend, Tripda!

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You have taxisharing down but what about carpooling for a longer haul? Ride sharing to a music festival, weekend road trip, or to/from campus through Craigslist can be difficult, scary, and awkward. Some thoughts that may have crossed your mind during these situations include:

-How do I know I’ll be safe?

-How and when do we split the cost of gas?

-Is it okay if I eat in the car?

-If you’re an extravert: What if it’s dead silence for the entire ride?

-If you’re an introvert: What if they don’t shut up?

-Will they be okay with me blasting Taylor Swift’s new album?

-What if their feet smell? Eww.

-Oh crap. What if MY feet smell?

Say goodbye to these thoughts, shady craigslist listings, and desperate last-minute posts on your campus’s “Class of Whatever” Facebook group. With Tripda – a long-distance carpooling community – you can offer rides, find rides, meet new people, save money, and stay green! The best part is that Tripda verifies users through Facebook/phone and publishes user-submitted reviews of drivers and riders. Drivers can also set prices as well as preferences for pets, food, music, and level of chattiness to make sure they’re matched with the most compatible riders.

Learn more!

Daimler Gets Into Carpooling

 

The largest German automaker is launching a pilot carpooling project in their home country that, in the style of services like Zimride and Weeels, combines ride sharing with social media. From Wired:

Called car2gether, the service is an outgrowth of of Daimler’s car2go Smart-sharing program and, according to the company, answers the question of “how flexible and independent mobility can be achieved without car ownership.”

Car2gether matches up carpooling mates, replacing upturned thumbs and notes pinned to a corkboard with online profiles and smartphone software. All users must register and post a photo along with other personal information that we hope includes whether they plan on eating an egg salad sandwich while in the car.

Users enter details about upcoming journeys using a smartphone or PC and let the car2gether software make a match. Should users want to connect on their own, the software automatically posts details of ride offers and requests on a microblogging site similar to Twitter. 

For now, use of the software comes at no charge but like car2go, the new service requires passengers to pay for travel time — a suggested charge of 9.5 cents per minute to reimburse the driver for vehicle maintenance, gas and time spent cleaning that spilled Starbucks latte off the passenger-side floor mat. At first, passengers will pay drivers in cash but as the pilot progresses Daimler will debut an automated, cashless payment program.

It should be exciting to watch how this service (and its cashless payment system). Car2gether, which launches September 18th, is certainly starting with the right kind of real world network: in the German city of Ulm, a university town where students are both tech-savvy and in need of cheap transportation. Other cities may be on the way.

DC-area commuters arrange impromptu ride sharing with "slug lines"

District Chronicles reports on how commuters around DC are gathering in public places to share rides in order take advantage of HOV lanes:

“Slug lines” are lines of people that form along major corridors to ride share with vehicles headed in a similar direction allowing for use of HOV lanes for faster commutes.[…]

With the increase in numbers of people waiting near curbs and crowding sidewalks, safety, traffic problems, backups and congestion are now real concerns for the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

DDOT traffic and safety experts recently launched a survey asking drivers and passengers to assess the specific needs and concerns of those using the “slug lines” as well as determining a safer location for lines to form.

It’s hard to imagine an initiative like HOV (high-occupancy vehicle; only cars with multiple passengers allowed) lanes could be more successful. People are coming together in ad-hoc groups to take advantage of the offered incentive and thus achieving the desired effects (decreased congestion and fuel consumption).

But it seems that the unexpected consequence of this success is the way real people condense in real places to form these lines. This has become such a concern that municipal authorities are now looking into creating new spaces to accomodate the behavior they’ve incentivized:

“We have no problem with the slug lines and want to work with the motorists who engage in this impromptu arrangement, but officers cannot ignore vehicles creating a hazard, or blocking lanes of traffic,” said MPD Chief Cathy Lanier. “We are working with DDOT and the motorists to find a solution to serve everyone.”

As part of the new pilot traffic engineers and safety experts are working to identify nearby locations that will meet the needs of the riders while providing a safer waiting environment and fewer traffic tie-ups.