GUEST POST FROM ODILE BENIFLAH OF CARPOOLING.COM
The next time you drive, try ridesharing as an alternative to driving alone.
Each time you drive alone, the empty seats in your car go to waste. Here’s the ‘sitch’: there are 1 billion cars on the planet and every car that’s now driving down a country road or highway has an average of 3.75 empty seats. Now multiply that by 3 trillion highway vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. each year. And factor in the $8,000 cost to own a car and the fact that the average American commuter spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic. Come on you people: wake up and stop the waste. Try Ridesharing instead.
Solo Drivers Need to Go to Rehab!
For me, driving alone is like smoking. People get into the habit of doing it at a young age and simply can’t stop. They may suffer nasty side effects such as huge costs, sitting alone in traffic, or stress during long commutes but can’t seem to see a solution to their misery! Meanwhile, those who don’t have a car (like me) are always looking for a lift. We car-free people may love buses and trains but what’s better than ridesharing with friendly people?
Enter Carpooling.com for Ridesharing
When I moved to Germany in 2008, I discovered “mitfahrgelegenheit” and “mitfahrzentrale”: a service that connects drivers and passengers so they can share their rides together and share costs for gas. It was such a simple idea and it worked: the site was as big as Expedia and LastMinute! I was so excited that it was easy to land a job when the site expanded internationally as carpooling.com.
So Why Not Practice Ridesharing in America?
To those who come up with lame excuses such as lower gas prices, cultural differences, entrenched consumerism, selfishness, inconvenience, fear of strangers etc., I say Not So Fast! Americans love FUN and FREEDOM — so ridesharing via a service like carpooling.com would be perfect here as well. And please stop saying that these green, social, smart behaviors only happen in Europe! I personally believe that America is the country that can make carpooling and ridesharing so cool that the entire world will follow. This is why I can’t wait to see the launch of carpooling.com in the U.S. Stand by…it’s coming SOON.
Ridesharing is Fun – Time to Show and Tell
Think about booking a ride in a fancy 4×4, comfortable sedan, funky pick-up truck, classy Cadillac, outrageous Jacuzzi-limo, luxury convertible, cruising Harley-Davidson, urban Zipcar, VW minibus. Imagine picking up a chef, a writer, a baseball fan, a folk singer from Tennessee, a French tourist, a student in philosophy, a developer of violent video games, a Kindergarten teacher, a BBQ master.
Technology has finally enabled the ridesharing revolution to take off. With smartphones, people can now offer or book seats on-the-go. With user profiles and social networks, people can get to know each other online before meeting en route.
So I am calling all the people who already carpool “21st century style” to speak up and share their stories of cheap, convenient, happy, comfortable transportation. Please show and tell the world about how great ridesharing can be.
Welcome to the Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy and a World of Infinite Possibilities
Now you can sell empty seats and reduce your car ownership costs by 75%. You can have access to millions of individual, affordable ride options. Carpooling and ridesharing is a real opportunity to celebrate equity and diversity, and to put human relationships back at the center of our daily lives.
So What Can You Do Until Carpooling.com is Launched in the U.S.?
Here’s how you can start to get out of your solo-driving addiction and start ridesharing. Start reaching out to friends and colleagues and offer them a ride. Ask neighbors if they want to join you on a trip to IKEA. Start a carpool group on Facebook. (Offer a free lunch to anyone driving you to a beach this summer.) And if you are lucky enough to travel to Europe this summer, carpooling.com — it’s up and running in 40 countries.
All you need is to use your imagination and watch out for that ridesharing bug: it’s contagious!