Maga-
zines need love too!
Boys of Summer: #Boyhood & Rich Hill, are new films about boys in rural America fending for themselves http://t.co/VYAT0vHGqC #movies #film  →
San Francisco Taxis Put on Notice with Peer-to-Peer Ridesharing Service San Francisco Taxis Put on Notice with Peer-to-Peer Ridesharing Service

San Francisco Taxis Put on Notice with Peer-to-Peer Ridesharing Service

by Zak Stone
June 28, 2012

Plenty of websites and apps now help travelers connect on long distance road trips to save money and fuel. Thanks to companies like Zimride, people driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco no longer have to brave long stretches of the I-5 alone (with the lone comfort of In-N-Out to get them through the journey). But why should intra-urban travel be any different? Is there a way to make it just as comfortable to hitch a ride to the grocery store over your iPhone as it is to hitch one across Texas?

An app called SideCar launched publicly today, promising "a seamless experience that connects you with drivers in your community instantly." Users enter their pick up and drop off locations, wait for a driver to show, and then pay a cashless donation using their phone based on a "community average" that crowdsources a fair price. To offer a bit of security, the app's website promises that "Every community driver is licensed, insured and background-checked" as well as interviewed over video chat. If that's not enough, GPS-tracking, round-the-clock customer support, and community ratings promise extra safety.

Of course, for some people that may not be enough to make them feel good about hopping in the car with a stranger. And there's always the question of how you ought to interact with the driver, who's not a professional, may want to chat, or may want nothing to do with you. The final challenge for the startup is regulation—the company must choose its words carefully to make it clear that the payment is a donation, not a fare. Donation or not, SideCar CEO Sunil Paul told TechCrunch that the "'vast majority of people'" paid something during SideCar's 10,000-ride private beta.

For now, the app is only available in San Francisco, but the company plans to expand rapidly.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Fraser Mummery

+
Join the discussion
  • This Tree Produces Forty Types of Fruit The living, edible art of Sam Van Aken's grafted stone fruit experiment
    Culture
    Maxwell Williams
  • Dear 14-Year-Old Me The intuitive, emotional side of yourself guides your experiences and shapes how you learn. You grasp information viscerally, which can make traditional schooling a little bit harder for you.
    Lifestyle
    Tiffany Persons
  • Danish Architects Reimagine the Zoo The search for a more ethical wildlife park
    Design
    Caroline Pham
  • Learning to Farm Fish Responsibly Breakthroughs in aquaculture are winning over longtime skeptics.
    Environment
    Kelly McCartney
  • Stories for Boys Sundance-winner Rich Hill picks up where Linklater left off.
    Lifestyle
    Joshua Neuman
  • The Human Side of Spam Spanish photographer Christina de Middel smudges fact and fiction with her staged images of Russian widows and Nigerian lawyers in distress.
    Lifestyle
    Caroline Pham