by Mike Masnick


from the need-a-ride? dept

Over at Future Now, there's a short post about an experimental real-time carpooling system here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The idea is that with various carpool lanes, carpool parking spots and free tolls for carpoolers, it makes more sense to set up carpools -- but not everyone knows people to carpool with, and a single carpool set-up is problematic when schedules diverge. So, with this system, called Ride Now, a user can use a website or a mobile phone to match up carpoolers and carpoolees in real time. In theory, this could be much more efficient than traditional carpooling, where a single schedule has to work for everyone involved. In practice... it raises a lot of questions. As far as I can tell, it's basically a slightly more sophisticated hitchhiking system, which brings up the same problems hitchhiking has. You really don't know anything about who you're picking up or who's driving you. There's a reason parents teach their kids not to randomly jump into cars with people they don't know. There is also the problem of usage. This system doesn't work well if no one uses it. If someone signs up and doesn't get a ride (or a passenger) how likely are they to sign up again?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    John BArtley, Aug 24th, 2004 @ 12:52pm

    Why electronicize it?

    Folks, this is an exercise for tech for it's own sake.
    The one place where ridesharing really, really works in in the 'burbs of DC, and it's calle the 'Slug Line'. Folks who want to avoid the Metro hang out in parking lots, and group themselves by destination. Then, drivers cruise by, and pick up enough folks to make the 3 passengers per vehicle commuter lane requirement.
    By comparison, every web-based, SMS-based, whatever-based system I've seen has been terribly lame.
    Please, show me a system which *works* for car shares, and is not just a full-employment provision for transportation public 'servants'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Karl Musser, Aug 24th, 2004 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Why electronicize it?

    I agree, having seen the slug lines in action it definitely seems like a case in which making it electronic would make it less efficient.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Xman, Aug 25th, 2004 @ 1:56am


    We could match up serial killers with potential victims!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2004 @ 10:42am

    Re: Psycho!

    But a lot of people do just that here in the Bay Area. People wait in lines to get into a car going over the Bay Brdige into downtown San Francisco and there are several designated lines of people waiting for cars going to specific East Bay suburbs. Tons of people jump into strangers' cars every business day, just like in DC and, surely, lots of other places.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Chris ODonnell, Aug 25th, 2004 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Why electronicize it?

    I pick up slugs anytime I have to trek into DC during rush hour. It easily saves me 30 minutes. I did use the website to learn to system - but that is the extent of electronics involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    frank, Oct 18th, 2009 @ 9:02am


    I have been hitchikign for years, many places accross the world, and this sytem already exist, but not officially yet at many places. I think its great and I encourage this My hitchhiking website is :

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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