Stressing ridesharing as a sustainable mode of transportation, Katina Schneider, Co-Founder and Business Developer of Match Rider, elaborates on specific advantages of ridesharing for commuters. Additionally, there are many opportunities for app-based or dynamic ridesharing innovation in many developing and emerging countries .
GPSM: Could you briefly describe Match Rider’s concept and explain what distinguishes you from other ridesharing platforms?
Katina Schneider: Match Rider is a web and mobile platform designed to help people share rides. It focuses on short to mid-distance routes (typically less than 100 km), especially regularly scheduled commutes. Drivers using this dynamic platform set their route and Match Rider determines the best pick-up and drop-off points along the route (called Match Points). The system works like public transportation where each Match Point has a schedule associated with it, just like a bus schedule. Passengers can book drivers at specific times and locations on our website, iOS or Android app. Signing up to Match Rider is free and passengers pay the driver a fee of 10 Eurocents per kilometer. For instance, a distance of 20 km would only cost 2 Euros, making Match Rider a very affordable form of mobility.
What makes Match Rider stand out is that we make carpooling possible for short distances and attractive for both passengers AND drivers. Unlike other platforms, we take a more driver-oriented approach towards ridesharing. Our algorithms calculate potential pick-up and drop-off locations directly along the driver’s route. Passengers can be easily picked up along the way without requiring any significant detours. Since Match Rider is station-based, we can link Match Points with other forms of transportation like car or bike sharing stations, public transportation stops, Park and Ride locations, and other transportation hubs. A good example of such a transportation/mobility hub is in Heidelberg Pfaffengrund/Wieblingen. Here, our Match Point coincides with the local train, tram and bus stations as well as a park and ride meeting point and a bike-sharing Station.
GPSM: Making ridesharing a routine could work especially well for commuters – do you have any special programs or cooperations in this field?
Katina Schneider: Match Rider offers businesses an internal ridesharing platform, called the Ride Board, to support employee carpooling. The Ride Board is an easy-to-implement tool for businesses to promote carpooling within their organization. The Ride Board works as a trust network, which is only accessible to employees. Each employee can decide for himself or herself whether they want to share their ride exclusively within their organization, with neighboring companies, or with the general user community.
GPSM: Since commuters need an extra level of reliability as their job depends on them arriving to work on time, how could ridesharing/the Ride Board ensure reliability?
Katina Schneider: Reliability greatly increases within Ride Board communities, as there is an extra layer of social control. You surely wouldn’t want your boss to find out your colleague is late because you decided not to pick them up. Whether as part of a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, to reduce parking requirements, or to promote interdepartmental communication, Match Rider offers a mix of tools to address the company’s specific needs. The Ride Board product comprises an all-round implementation package including a branded company page and monthly reporting and statistics for easy integration in CSR reporting.
GPSM: Could you describe how ridesharing can contribute to more sustainable transportation?
Katina Schneider: The aim of Match Rider is to fill up unused car seats and to encourage people to use limited resources like fossil fuels, space for street highway infrastructure/parking spaces, and other non-renewable resources like iron as efficiently as possible. In addition, people who share rides tend to:
- Spend less on vehicle costs including gasoline and maintenance.
- Contribute to the reduction of CO2 and particulate emissions, the better utilization of natural resources, and the better management of public spaces.
- Help build healthier, more productive citizens. People who carpool are less likely to call in sick to work. A paper by the United States Environmental Protection Agency on carpool incentives describes how many drivers find solo commutes in heavy traffic stressful. Ride sharing decreases commuters’ stress levels and thus benefits their overall health. Carpooling brings people together that otherwise would not have met, like a real life Facebook. This fosters bonds within neighborhoods, regions, and businesses. Two participants in our project in Berlin Adlershof now share rides regularly even though they do not work for the same company and did not know each other before. This is one example about how ridesharing can have a positive social Impact.
GPSM: In developing countries, ridesharing/shared taxis/paratransit has been prevalent for a long time. What advantages and potential does app-based ridesharing, in your opinion, have there?
Katina Schneider: Carpooling or ridesharing is nothing new for developing countries. Limited access to personal automobiles and lower incomes has helped drive the practice’s growth. Countries that have already established positive cultural norms around sharing rides provide great landscapes for app-based or “dynamic” ridesharing. Trust and transparency are a major area where new technologies can increase the adoption of carpooling. Verified user profiles with photos, user ratings and detailed contact information increase safety for both drivers and passengers. User preferences enable them to automatically filter rides, for example, by gender, smoking preference, or place of work. A further advantage of app-based ridesharing is that it enables a cashless payment system, which eliminates the need to negotiate price and increases transparency over the transaction. In some developing countries such as China and India, cashless payment via smartphone is already common practice. Dynamic ridesharing also provides increased access to mobility, especially in more remote regions. Advanced algorithms are designed to maximize the potential for a carpool match. Individuals in more suburban or rural areas have greater transparency about who from the neighboring village commutes at a similar time.
Learn more about Match Rider here: https://www.matchrider.de/#