Much like France-based BlaBlaCar, Carpooling specialises in mid to long-distance ridesharing (typically inter-city, from ‘door to door’), but unlike BlaBlaCar it’s poised to break into the US market, even though its main rival has discarded similar plans to launch stateside after internal research surfaced concerns over long-term viability of the business.
Carpooling, which is backed by carmaker Daimler and Earlybird Venture Capital, is going to give it a shot in partnership with Uber, the short-distance ridebooking company that has been growing like a weed (and facing legal and other problems) around the world.
The Carpooling app lets passengers search for rides anywhere in the United States and enables drivers to post available car seats if they’re heading in the same direction as potential ‘clients’.
Which means fewer cars on the road, and lower costs for both passengers and drivers.
Through a product integration with Uber, Carpooling says it will be the first company to offer a door-to-door long-distance service in the US. Passengers can request to be picked up at home by an Uber driver to take them to the starting point of their carpool, and then request an Uber at the arrival point to take them to their exact destination, if needed – all from within Carpooling’s (free) app.
“Our concept is simple: turn empty car seats into a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and fun mode of transportation. We recognize there won’t be an abundance of passengers and drivers connected with each other at launch, but we’re confident from more than a decade of experience in Europe that supply and demand will grow rapidly.”
If he’s right about that, then it will be up to BlaBlaCar (and/or American competitors) to play catch up or leave the market for long-distance ridesharing to the Carpooling-Uber tandem.
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