Charlottetown company gets into business of matching people with cars with those needing rides throughout the Maritimes
Screengrab from www.maritimerideshare.com
A Charlottetown company is trying to hook people with cars up with people looking for drives.
Maritime Rideshare operates out of an office on Kent Street but it trying to appeal to the entire East Coast market.
"We're in the business of making connections . . . kind of like an online dating service,'' said Aaron Lewis, one of two people behind the company.
Maritime Rideshare is developing a service that facilitates drivers and passengers to find each other when going between the same locations. The site is currently free but will eventually require users to pay a booking fee to pay for the administrative costs of the site and to implement features to make ridesharing safe for users.
Lewis and Scott Gallant decided to give such an idea a try for environmental reasons. Fewer vehicles on the road means less harmful emissions.
"It also increases societal trust; now much people trust other people in society.''
Lewis said recent events also highlight the need for an online ridesharing service.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has instituted mandatory carpooling across East River bridges at least three people per vehicle in the wake of hurricane Sandy's damage.
Lewis also points to the Acadian Bus Lines shutdown.
"That was a shock to the system. A service like ours allow people to co-ordinate and organize themselves.''
Lewis said he and Gallant did some research and found a lack of online networks and mobile carpooling apps for the local market.
Those who offer a ride to a specific location list a fee (fees range from $10-$30) on their post while those looking for rides list how much they are willing to pay. About 60 per cent of the posters on Maritime Rideshare are looking for rides.
Lewis said the Halifax-Charlottetown run is a popular request, noting that bus and shuttle services can be inconvenient for people not able to leave early in the morning.
Lewis acknowledges an obvious problem with the service. It has no way of ensuring peoples' safety.
"That is a concern,'' he said.
They are looking into getting insurance down the road.
"Some (companies) will cover it, some don't. It's quite gray in terms of the insurance.''
On the web: www.maritimerideshare.com