Carpooling: carpooling, economy and environmental protection
Hitchhiking is the cheapest way to travel. All you need to do is prepare a cardboard box with the name of the destination or stand on the appropriate section of the road with your thumb outstretched. While this form of transport seems to be experiencing a renaissance, it has many opponents. As the main disadvantage, they primarily indicate the danger to which both drivers and passengers are exposed. An alternative for such people and for all those who want to travel at a low cost is carpooling, known in the Polish language version as shared rides.
Carpooling - how to go with someone?
The rules are very simple. The driver reports via an appropriate website such as BlaBlaCar that he has free seats in his car for the distance in question. In the advertisement details, you can find out the route description, the price of the trip, the car brand, the amount of luggage that can be carried, as well as the opinions of people who have already traveled with this driver.
In addition, for the authentication of the user, in the panel on the right side there is a section "verifications", where you can see if his number and e-mail address are confirmed. However, in the Carpooling service it is also possible to add a copy of your ID card.
After reading all the information about the route and the driver, all you need to do is contact him via the website.
Shared ride in Poland and Europe - Carpooling
The idea for carpooling was not born in Poland. BlaBlaCar and Carpooling are only the native counterparts of the French and German websites. The first of them was established in 2006, on the initiative of Frederic Mazell, and made such a career that local rail carriers had to lower the prices of the offered connections. Currently, the website has its counterparts in 11 countries, including Turkey, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Poland. According to the statistics posted on the website, over 2 million Poles travel with it per month, and more than 10 million are registered. Compatriots offer journeys over various distances and most of them are popular. However, there are sections on which drivers travel with exceptional frequency and thanks to this, for example, from Wrocław to Warsaw you can find more than 10 connections, and from the capital to Gdańsk even about 20 journeys a day.
The need to share travel costs over shorter distances was one of the reasons for the creation of Otodojazd.pl. The founder - Szymon Banaś wanted to reduce the expenses for commuting to the workplace 30 kilometers away. Currently, using its website, you can find a ride not only to the company or university, but also for a weekend return home, or for a longer holiday route. Another feature of the Polish service is the fact that passengers can also publish their ads there.
Carpooling - why is it worth going together?
Shared rides are tempting above all with prices. Drivers can save on gasoline by sharing its costs with their passengers. The latter can travel between cities at an affordable cost. Although for some routes, such as Wrocław-Warsaw, the fare is on average PLN 15 more than the offers of bus companies such as PolskiBus, driving with a driver from the BlaBlaCar service can save even more than two hours.
Traveling together with other people is also an opportunity to conduct interesting conversations, as well as establish longer relationships. For this purpose, drivers put a "blah blah" icon in their profile, which means that they are chatty depending on their humor, or a triple "blah" icon, which indicates their verbosity. However, it is not always necessary to make an effort to talk, as some people report that they also like to listen to music.
In addition to the financial and social benefits, carpooling can also contribute to the improvement of the condition of our environment. BlaBlaCar estimates that it has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 500,000 tonnes through its activities, while its Dutch counterpart estimates that the country's bicycles are up to 200,000 tonnes more.
Negative sides of carpooling
As with public transport and private companies, unpleasant situations can arise when traveling together. Some travelers have traveled with a company that has misbehaved - swearing, drinking alcohol in the car or asking indiscreet questions. There were also drivers who stopped every fifteen minutes to smoke a cigarette, although in their profiles they declared that they did not do it. Another case is a man who, instead of dealing with a car breakdown, took a break.
The fares are also annoying. Some users' rates are half the actual cost.
However, there is a chance to avoid some inconveniences - you should carefully read the driver's profile, the conditions offered by him, and above all - the opinions written by other people.
Carpooling - worth a try!
Using carpooling services is not always free. On some websites you have to register with your basic details, on others you can contact the driver directly by e-mail or by phone. Later, you just need to appear in the designated place and start your journey together. Often, in addition to us, other people decide to travel with a given driver, if the number of available seats in the car is greater. This reduces the driving comfort, but may contribute to making new friends or getting to know a person who is the driver himself and perhaps drives on a different route that interests us.
From March 7, 2016, the website blablacar.pl introduced a fee of PLN 5 for a seat reservation. The money is spent on improving the quality of the service and increasing the trust and credibility of carpooling. Each user who was registered on the website before the changes came into force by the end of 2016 can take advantage of two free reservations.