Ridesharing Update: Blablacar Buying up Competition and Some New Additions

Ridesharing could help avoid nasty traffic jams like this one

I love the concept of ridesharing: a cheap way to travel that’s also environmentally friendly, and often a great way to meet locals while traveling. I’m not talking about taking a Lyft or Uber taxi, even with their new taxi sharing service, which I do like, this is just an efficient way to share a cab. I’m much more enamored with the carpooling form of ridesharing. Want a way to get from Boston to New York, why not get in the car of someone who’s already planning to make that drive? Both of you save money on the trip, it’s direct and probably faster than most forms of transit, and you might even enjoy the company.  Unfortunately, as I’ve written before, ridesharing has yet to catch on in the U.S. And so for now I’m a fan of ridesharing in concept at home, and an enthusiastic user when I travel to countries where it’s possible to get around this way.

If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., check out the ridesharing options on my peer to peer spreadsheet (select the “ridesharing” sub-category).  And for those within the U.S. you can help push forward the adoption of ridesharing by using the options listed that are operating in this country.

Updates on ridesharing

Otto launched a carpooling app in 2015 targeting the American college students. Users must have a .edu email account.

Hovee – I just recently discovered this company, which has been around since 2013 offering ridesharing for work commutes in the U.S.

HitchPlanet – This is another company I recently came across, offering ridesharing in Canada (founded in 2010).

blablacarThe European leader in ridesharing, Blablacar, made two acquisitions recently: Carpooling and Autohop. I wrote a lot about my experience with Blablacar in Spain: they are very successful in that country and elsewhere in Europe, and raised $100 million in funding in 2014, driving significant expansion over the past year. This is potentially big news for the U.S. ridesharing market: already the top ridesharing app in Germany, Carpooling launched in the U.S. in December 2014. No doubt Blablacar was eying the German and Hungarian markets with these acquisitions. But perhaps Carpooling will give Blablacar the push they need to make a big move into the U.S. market.

And finally, for those in the U.S. who don’t like the idea of ridesharing, or for the rest of us who are just waiting for it to catch on, there’s a new entrant to the peer to peer car rental market. Carhopper is launching an app this month focusing on short term auto rentals (borrow a car for a few hours to run some errands). Initially they will launch in the Florida market but plan to expand to other states.