Home / Smart Travel / Travel Talk / Tell it like it is: Lift sharing

Travel Talk

Tell it like it is: Lift sharing

The sharing economy continues to boom because it’s downright useful. Airbnb, for example, helps homeowners with empty rooms earn a little extra cash to help pay off the mortgage and gives travellers access to, often cheap, accommodation. So why not do the same thing with empty car seats?

Tell it like it is: Lift sharing
Lift sharing. Image: Getty

Share this

Is Uber lift sharing?
Not really. It’s still a taxi service. Drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft charge a fee to pick up a passenger quickly and take them to an agreed destination.

What’s UberPool then?
In some cities, Uber passengers get a 25% discount if they’re willing to share the car with someone else on the same route.

Which apps should I get?
Companies like Liftshare, Tripda, BlaBlaCar and GoCarShare provide apps that act as matchmaking platforms for drivers looking to split petrol costs with passengers. Google-owned Waze is testing a carpooling service called RideWith. BlaBlaCar is the UK’s largest ride-sharing service and is particularly good for long-distance trips, while Liftshare is the longest-established in the UK.

What should I look out for?
It takes much longer to arrange a lift share than it does an Uber. Remember, participating drivers have simply indicated a willingness to consider a passenger. As such, they won’t necessarily be scanning their lift-share app in search of an early-morning passenger. Setting up the lift share days, perhaps weeks, in advance is a good idea. Using the system to message potential drivers before asking for a lift is also recommended. Lift sharing works best in cities where the chance of finding a match is much higher. It’s also a popular choice with festival-goers and students.

Is it safe?
If you use a lift share platform there’ll be a record of your departure and destination address, of your driver and of the time and date of your ride. The platform will also remove the need to carry and pay in cash. Access to your smartphone is needed to confirm the lift was completed successfully. This is much safer than hitchhiking and arguably safer than hailing a taxi off the street.

It’s best practise not to arrange a lift to or from your home address until you know your driver. Get picked up from the corner of the road, a nearby cafe or somewhere public. Make sure the driver is actually the person you’ve been talking to via the app or the site.

Published in the April 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)