BlaBlaCar: A New Way To Travel
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Have you heard about BlaBlaCar? It is a service that is very much part of the rise of the sharing economy. BlaBlaCar is a tech start-up that solves a genuine problem; traveling by car. Founded in 2004 and now in ten countries, this Paris-based ride-sharing service, with three million Europeans registered as members, handles 600,000 passengers a month and is on track to pip Eurostar’s 900,000 by the end of the year.
It very simply connects cities by creating a new transport network based on empty seats in cars. Drivers post on the website about where they are headed and how many seats they have, for example, four empty seats for a journey from London to Liverpool on Tuesday afternoon. The car owners set a fee of anything from £9 to £20 per passenger. The passenger then gets in touch and can either pay in the car or via the BlaBlaCar site. For tax and insurance reasons, drivers aren't allowed to make a profit on the journey, but only to cover costs.
It is all about sharing rides and a sophisticated way to ‘hike.’ It offers a flexible, super-low-cost transport network. BlaBlaCar has a complete track of who travelled where with whom and when, which in terms of trust and safety, is always a debate in the sharing economy. The company has accumulated 2.3M ratings between members, social media and online data trails, including member profiles, mobile numbers, credit card and bank details. It is very transparent.
Moreover, for women, car sharing can raise concerns about security. Although BlaBlaCar has a number of safety features that create a secure and trusted community, some women still do not feel comfortable sharing a ride with another male member. That's why BlaBlaCars created Ladies Only, to allow members to plan a car share where both drivers and all passengers are women. It's a great way for women to feel very safe. The service has found that it's especially appreciated the first time a women car shares with the BlaBlaCar community.
It is predicted that we will hear more about collaborative consumption—the sharing economy—as it is how technology is transforming our relationship to possessions and ownership. Technology unlocks the ‘fritting away capacity’ that could be the spare room in a home, and in BlaBlaCar’s case, the spare seats in someone’s car. The sharing economy is starting to disrupt conventional trade, making it a lifestyle choice as well as an economy. Demand is growing for tailored, personal experiences beyond the uniform offerings of goods or services. Crucially, the sharing economy also reflects a change in attitudes and the traditional ways we as modern society are measuring material success.
Photo Credit: BlaBlaCar Website