New Carpooling App lets Vancouver Commuters Share Rides

If you are one of those who often waits in the long lines to catch the 99 B-line bus along Broadway a new app may be your answer.

A group of Vancouver entrepreneurs has just debuted a new app that takes carpooling into the 21st century.  Called Spare Rides, the iPhone app (Android coming soon) helps connect drivers commuting to work along the Broadway corridor with passengers looking for a lift.

Riders open the app, indicate their destination and then see drivers in the area with ETA's.  After tapping to accept a ride, the car's model and license plate number is shown.

Just days after its launch, the app has already had 400 users and plenty of satisfied drivers and riders, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. All logistics - including pickup location and destination-are handled inside the app, and the transactions are also processed in the app, so no money has to change hands.

This app is intended for actual commuters driving to and from their job who are looking to offset the cost of the drive by picking up carpoolers.  It's not intended as a way for drivers to earn an extra profit.  And the rates reflect that.  Riders pay a $1.50 base fee, then $.50 per kilometre after that - roughly half of Uber's standard rate.  The driver receives $1 in base fare and $.35 per kilometre, which works out to approximate the actual  operating costs of the vehicle for the trip.  The unique arrangement means that  Spare Rides is fully cleared in B.C. as opposed to Uber, which for the moment, at least is still banned.

Currently, Spare Rides operates only within a narrow section of the city defined by the Broadway corridor.  The service covers the area stretching from UBC to Commerical Drive, from 1st Ave in the north to 16th Ave in the south. It's only available during peak traffic hours: weekdays from 8am -11am and 3pm - 6pm.

What are your thoughts?  Do you expect this service to expand to more areas?

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