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More social ride-sharing

Mobility & Transport

Back in September we covered examples on both sides of the Atlantic of social carpool matching sites that link drivers with passengers. PickupPal, which just launched last month, is now offering a like service on a global basis. Like Zimride, GoLoco and isanyonegoingto, PickupPal also uses a social networking component to ease consumers’ fears about sharing a car with a stranger. When users join the site, they create a profile with information including their picture and an “about me” description; over time, that information gets supplemented with ratings from those they have travelled with on trips through the site. Users planning to make a drive can tell PickupPal to see if any passengers (or packages) need to go there too; conversely, they can also request a ride to a particular place. PickupPal informs drivers about potential pick-ups, allowing them to make an offer for the trip based on how much they want to charge and the passenger’s feedback ratings from previous trips they have made. Passengers, meanwhile, can choose from among the drivers that have made offers based on prices and their ratings on the site. Once a match is made, PickupPal issues a “ticket to ride” to both parties with all the necessary information. At the end of the ride, the passenger pays the driver, who pays a 7 percent commission to PickupPal. Both sides are also asked to rate the other for incorporation into their profiles. PickupPal uses a GIS-based software application that sorts and matches rides anywhere around the world. Currently the Barbados-based site is available only in English, but it has already begun working on translations into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch, it says. And a good thing, too: with gas prices and carbon footprints the focus of increasing global concern, demand for services that help consumers use cars more wisely will continue to be on the rise. Spotted by: Sarah Vogel



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