Ride Sharing On the Rise, With Bumps in the Road

Posted by Meghan Neal

One of the fastest growing sectors of the sharing economy is ride sharing, and it seems SideCar, a startup based out of San Francisco, is leading the way.

Essentially a DIY taxi, the app connects any driver with a spare seat in their car to people nearby who need a ride. SideCar just expanded to three additional cities last week and to Washington, D.C. on Friday.

A handful of startups are tackling the problem of how to more efficiently cart people from point A to B in cities around the globe. 
 
Lyft, also based in San Francisco, functions sort of like an AirBnB for cars, and Carpooling.com connects people with rides across 40 countries in Europe.
 
Still, the ridesharing business has some serious hurdles to clear. Safety is one, of course—hitching a ride from a stranger can, reasonably, feel unsettling.
 
The other hurdle is that some municipalities are none too happy with these unofficial taxi services cutting into the current system. Right now RideShare is tangled up in a legal battle with the city of Austin for operating during the SXSW festival this month. Still, as TechCrunch points out, the startup is ready to charge full speed ahead. It's secured a new round of funding and hired a head of public policy. 
 
Making better use of the wasted space in energy-sucking, congestion-creating vehicles makes perfect logical sense. Will people adopt these new habits as the norm? If so, will cities follow suit?
 
This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Take an Alternate Route. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.

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