Have you wondered who else among your friends was planning a trip to go hiking or watch a baseball game? On the other hand, do you find personal transportation costs getting a little unsustainable?
Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, is fusing the concept behind her progressive car sharing service with a bit of Evite, Facebook and eBay, turning social networks into fun trip-sharing networks.
How’s it work?
1. Post your route, frequency and time, like you would an event on Evite. This can be a pleasure trip, an errand, or a commute (20% of all our trips).
2. Populate your GoLoco social network with your friends, colleagues and larger social network (ie people in a familiar social context, such as your neighborhood, classes, church, the gym…) In fact, Facebook membership is required.
3. Find other ‘trip events’ that interest you and see if you know the people involved, or at least their social context… or wait for others to show interest in trip events that you post.
4. If there’s a match, the system allows you to share costs and make payments, even providing how much each party should pay. Pricing is determined by the driver, with a default rate of $.50/mile, and adjustable for parking and tolls.
Now the biggest concern is that no one wants to get into cars with strangers, and Robin made it clear GoLoco would have never worked before online social networks allowed us to establish a greater comfort level with people we didn’t really know. In addition to individual profiles, riders also get ratings and comments (like eBay) on whether or not they were good travel buddies.
Of course, Robin’s not just the founder, she’s a client – she posted an event trip to a wireless conference in Columbia, MD from National Airport in DC, found a ‘match’, clicked on his profile to see he was with a familiar organization, then realized she knew two of his bosses. Even her 13-year old daughter uses the system to go rock climbing with at least ten of her friends at a time.
With people spend on average $8000/year on car-related costs, 18% of their budgets, and increasing to 20-25% in the near future, it represents significant savings. Experiencing a diversity of places and events, meeting old and new friends, never having to be bored and lonely again? Priceless.