I’m not ashamed to admit that driving in overcrowded cities just isn’t my thing anymore. From jostling for parking spaces to dealing with traffic jams, I’d rather outsource the headache to a more capable person. Fortunately, with ride-share apps I’m never more than a few clicks away from a car at my doorstep.
If you don’t enjoy driving, all you have to do is look down your phone and keep track of a car’s arrival. Prepaid rides also free you from the ordeal of hailing a taxi when they won’t even bother to stop for you. While on a vacation abroad, hitching a ride with other tourists can also save valuable money.
Here is a list of useful ride-share apps popular in different parts of the world. All of them allow you to split the fares (including toll charges) with other riders.
With over 70 million worldwide users, Paris-based BlaBlaCar is quite popular in much of Europe, Russia, Turkey and select cities in India. In Europe it’s a great alternative for those who hate to travel by bus or train. Indeed, this is the perfect app if you want to hop from one European city to another while soaking in the delightful scenes.
With BlaBlaCar you have a choice of offering a ride in your own car or hitching a ride with a driver. All you have to do is look up the intended route, and you will find some willing passengers to share the ride with you. Of course, some drivers and passengers are going to cancel on you, but then it will affect their ratings. To avoid any last minute issues, BlaBlaCar can ask for a minimum deposit from both parties.
Grab is a very popular prepaid cab service in South East Asia, and its ride-share option, Grabshare, is similar to BlaBlaCar. Although it might take you more time to find another passenger to share with, it is worth it because of lower fares of up to 30%. You cannot bring more than two persons in a Grabshare ride. All drivers are carefully vetted and verified, so it is very safe to use.
The entire route is optimized in advance, and you cannot change your mind without canceling the booking. No matter which country you travel to in South East Asia, Grab will never disappoint you. Remember to enable the English language option in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Uber’s carpooling service, UberPool, can offer ridiculously low prices for seemingly expensive rides. The idea is to walk a little and be paired with a fellow rider who is heading in the same direction you are. According to their website, you only have to confirm “UberPool” as an option and wait for two minutes before you’re paired with a fellow rider. A maximum of two seats can be booked in one UberPool request.
If your concern is that your fellow rider will delay your trip, you only have to check your drop-off time in the app. The ride is optimized for best arrival times. Currently, UberPool is available within the Uber app in thirty-six cities worldwide, including the extended metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and Chicago.
One of the lowest-fare cab-sharing services, Via takes you to your destinations at a lower cost. Currently, it is only available in the New York City, Washington DC and Chicago areas. Via is faster than UberPool, as it is a dedicated ride-share app, and you don’t have to walk a few blocks to find another person to share a ride with.
Via is efficient and might extend its ride-sharing services in other cities around the world. For example, in London, UK it has a shared-ride service called “ViaVan.”
Lyft is a very popular alternative to Uber in the United States. Its carpooling service, Lyft Shared, matches you with others for up to two people in the same booking. Currently, the sharing service is available in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami and a few other urban areas.
The shared Lyft pricing should work out cheaper than a standard Lyft ride.
It is estimated that a quarter of all miles traveled in the US by 2030 will be through ride-share apps. Why wouldn’t they? Ride-share apps are very easy on the wallet, and the convenience is a big plus point. What are your views on ride sharing?