Tired of waiting in long lines to catch the 99 B-Line bus along Broadway? A new app may be the answer.
A team of Vancouver entrepreneurs has just debuted a new app that takes carpooling into the 21st century. Called Spare Rides, the iPhone app (Android coming soon) helps connect drivers commuting to work along the Broadway corridor with passengers looking for a lift.
Riders open the app, indicate their destination and then see drivers in the area and ETAs. After tapping to accept a ride, the car’s model and license plate number is shown.
Just a few days after launch, the app already has 400 users and plenty of satisfied drivers and riders, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun. All logistics – including pickup location and destination – are handled inside the app, and transactions are also processed in app, so no money has to change hands.
Sound a little like Uber? The creators of Spare Rides insist that the app fulfills a fundamentally different role. It’s intended for actual commuters driving to and from their job who are looking to offset the cost of the drive by picking up carpoolers. It’s not intended as a way for drivers to earn an extra profit.
The rates reflect that. Riders pay a $1.50 base fee, then $.50 per kilometre after that – roughly half of Uber’s standard rate. The driver receives $1 in base fare and $.35 per kilometre, which works out to approximate the actual operating costs of the vehicle for the trip. This unique arrangement means that Spare Rides is fully cleared to operate in B.C., as opposed to Uber, which – for the moment, at least – is still banned.
Currently, Spare Rides operates only within a narrow section of the city defined by the Broadway corridor. The service covers the area stretching from UBC to Commercial Drive, from 1st Avenue in the north to 16th Avenue in the south. It’s only available during peak traffic hours: weekdays from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Drivers and passengers can sign up and download the app at SpareRides.com