BlaBlaCar is a French ride-sharing service founded in 2006, which matches motorists with passengers needing a lift between cities, creating an entirely new, people powered, transport network. It operates country-specific sites for the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Germany — and now Russia and the Ukraine. For a detailed account of its method click here.
*10 million members
*over 2 million members travelling with us every month
*over 3 billion miles shared
an estimated £216 million saved by our drivers every year
*an estimated 700,000 tons of CO2 saved
*average car occupancy 2.8 people (vs 1.6 average)
*over 5m app downloads (iPhone and Android)
BlaBlaCar operates as an online marketplace, allowing motorists to offer their spare seats to passengers. Its drivers do not make a profit as prices are capped so that passengers pay just enough to cover the cost of fuel and other running costs. This ensures a driver’s insurance is not invalidated. The company takes a 12% commission on each journey, meaning revenues are likely to be in the tens of millions, though as far as can be ascertained, the company is not yet making a profit.
‘Verified profiles with member ratings’: members rate each other after trip, which helps to build mutual trust. Also, users are tied to identifying features, such as a phone number and bank account. This makes it hard for someone with bad reviews to change their accounts.
Kit Buchan reports in the Guardian that the website calculates the distance of each journey and offers a fair price for the driver to ask from each passenger, as well as a maximum price above which the driver cannot charge. For London to Paris these prices are set at £22 and £33 respectively; by contrast, a similar trip on iDBUS, the state-owned French coach service, costs £30-40. Rides from London to Penzance cost as little as £15, Bristol to Birmingham starts from a fiver, and as British train ticket prices rise the thought of a cheap seat will grow increasingly attractive.