Matchmaking, carpool style

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown company gets into business of matching people with cars with those needing rides throughout the Maritimes

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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:

Organizations: Acadian Bus Lines, Halifax-Charlottetown

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Kent Street, East Coast New York City East River

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Recent comments

  • Grant Lairdson
    November 15, 2012 - 07:02

    There's quite a few carpool websites out there that help people find other carpoolers to connect with. It's a great way to put a few extra bucks in your pocket. If you want to drive, you can just advertise a seat in your car for whatever price you're comfortable with, and if you're looking for a ride, you can go online and offer to contribute a certain amount tot someone else's gas bill. You can even do it from an iPhone app now:

  • I can't believe it.
    November 13, 2012 - 00:02

    I can't believe it! You do own a limousine and sedan service! Hahaha. Oh boy. Way to come on here and bad mouth the competition... if you were really concerned, why not contact the people that run the company and share your wisdom? You obviously know a lot about running a transportation business in the Maritimes.

    • David Gibler
      November 13, 2012 - 10:01

      I didn't bad mouth anyone. And Maritime Rideshare is certainly not my competition. I simply presented scenarios that people should think about. The company should be addressing these legitimate concerns. Share my wisdom? I just did. I am concerned and chose to share my concerns, along with my name, publicly. Unlike the both of you who hides his/her identity. The potential clients can ask these questions or the owners can take them and figure how to do it. You think I'm mean? Wait until something really goes south. When a personal injury lawyer begins to question this operation in a court of law you will know mean. Or, wait until the Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board gets wind of this. Requirements, regulations, inspections, licensing, livery insurance... Why do you think the transportation industry is an industry?

  • David Gibler
    November 12, 2012 - 10:50

    Cannot wait to see how Maritime Rideshare will weather the first, 2nd and 3rd lawsuit for hooking up people with unsafe drivers and unsafe vehicles. What about livery insurance? Licensing? Does this company research and inspect each driver and vehicle? As the broker in this, liability will be aimed at Maritime Rideshare, as it should be. Lots of room for horror here. Thats why there are limo, taxi and bus companies with properly licensed drivers, properly inspected, trained and insured vehicles and drivers.

    • Naysayer
      November 12, 2012 - 23:57

      I've been using the website, and from what I understand, they are working creating profiles so that you can submit comments about the driver/car etc. Kind of like sellers on Amazon. They have a profile, and if they have bad reviews, don't take a ride with them. As for the legal issues, there are obviously ways around this. To assume that idea should not proceed because of legal challenges is crazy. You transfer the risk somehow - either through insurance, waivers, informed consents, etc etc etc. You figure it out. Also, to say that you cannot wait to see law suits is kind of mean. It's a really heartless thing to say. I'm going to assume that you probably make a living with bus or taxi services. Anyway, I hope it succeeds. You obviously don't. We'll leave it at that.

  • Charles Arsenault
    November 12, 2012 - 08:16

    If anyone CHARGES to transport people he or she must have commercial liability insurance and the proper license, they will also have to keep a record of each ridership for Income tax. Is it really the best way or could you just take the bus and let the bus line deal with that.

    • David Gibler
      November 13, 2012 - 12:31

      Not once did I actually wish failure on these guys. They do have a very slippery slope if they do not attend to these issues I present. " they are working creating profiles so that you can submit comments about the driver/car etc. Kind of like sellers on Amazon. They have a profile, and if they have bad reviews, don't take a ride with them." Yes, that takes care of the dangerous driver or the groper for his 2nd ride. How about the guy with drug or alcohol issues, failing eyesight and an improperly maintained vehicle? This is going to take time and money to confirm. Who pays? The client. So, now your driver, who has met all criteria has sunk a fortune into meeting it will now want to be properly reimbursed for his investment. Now, he wants as much as a taxi or sedan yet its a Prius or something small and hard riding. So now the rider, faced with an increased spend, and the ride share company's rate shall rise as well as again, time and money has been spent to be sure all is safe, will the consumer now spend X with the ride share or with an established transportation company that actually owns the vehicles and hires/trains their drivers and performs scheduled maintenance. No need to be rude because I bring legit questions that you cannot answer. So now, we'll leave it at that.

  • reality bites
    November 12, 2012 - 06:49

    This a great idea, and I hope it works out well. The problems will arise from the one person looking to take advantage in a bad way or some incident combined with media attention to ruin it for everyone. Such is the case with a lot of good things unfortunately. I hope they have a good legal disclaimer.

    • Jeff Sobey
      November 12, 2012 - 09:56

      This has to work. One person per car can be seen day after day over the bridge heading to work in town. What a waste of car, tires, fuel and money. I hope it flies regardless of the problems that will come our way.It just makes sense.