The world is changing by the minute. We’ve embraced new technologies, made new discoveries and so much progress. Yet there’s one thing that’s changed little – your commute.
About 70% of Americans drive alone to work. Driving is expensive and the average commuting cost for people who drive to work has risen to $6,200 per year with many people paying even more. With gas prices set to remain at a high and other costs such as tolls and parking there’s no relief in sight. For decades, carpooling has promised a solution that could solve these problems. Traditionally, carpooling has required a fixed group of people who commit to meet at a fixed time at a fixed place every day. But a fixed carpooling arrangement doesn’t meet today’s demands of flexible working hours and unpredictable schedules. Most people want the freedom to leave when they want instead of a fixed arrangement. The fixed nature causes other issues. For instance, if one person is late – everybody gets late.
People taking other modes have different problems. Ride for hire services are just too expensive to use everyday. Not all companies offer a company bus for employee transportation. Some people take 2 or more buses or maintain an extra car in the household just to be able to drive in to a park and ride – the costs of maintaining an extra car quickly add up.
iCarpool – What is it?
iCarpool is a new flexible carpooling app. Unlike a conventional carpool, iCarpool has no fixed groups of carpoolers nor is there a schedule associated with the carpool. During their commute, drivers pickup and drop-off riders along their way. Riders pay a small fee and get point-to-point transportation in a comfortable car. Drivers are able to get a cost reimbursement and possibly save time using the HOV lanes. Everybody does good for the environment and has fun! iCarpool uses a share-the-expense carpool model and riders pay a small fee that starts as low as $1.50 per trip that is used to reimburse drivers towards their expense of the trip. It’s several times cheaper than taxi and other ride-for-hire services and works out as a viable option for commute so it could be used daily.
iCarpool – What it is not
iCarpool is not a ride for hire service. For example, a taxi service picks up the rider at the riders location and drops off the rider at the rider’s destination – when the taxi is offering rides, the taxi does not have a trip with an origin and destination that is independent of the rider’s trip. Drivers make income from a ride for hire service and use it as a primary or secondary job. Ride for hire services allow drivers to make a profit on the trip.
In the case of iCarpool, when the driver is offering rides, the driver is travelling from an origin to a destination independent of any riders. The driver picks up and drops-off riders along the way with minor deviations for the convenience of the pickup and drop-off. The iCarpool Platform caps the money received by the driver using reimbursement rates defined by the IRS such that drivers do not make a profit and instead drivers partially recover from their ordinary driving costs.
iCarpool and Public Transit
While iCarpool is not a public transit system, it may be used to complement public transit in cases such as there is no route to meet demand, the schedule of a particular route is infrequent, reduced services or excess demand along a corridor. With costs starting out as low as $1.50 per trip, iCarpool is much less expensive than ride for hire services and can provide a viable option that is complementary to public transit.
If you’re an agency looking to complement public transit with a peer-to-peer model, talk to us and find out how we can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.