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Start-ups Tackle Carpooling & Car-sharing

A handful of new apps and social networks hope to make ride-sharing a real (and safe) option for commuters.

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Much like Airbnb.com used social networks to build a safe community for house-sharing, a slew of new apps and social networks aim to make car-sharing and carpooling easier and safer, according to the New York Times

“It’s been a tough sell in the U.S. for a long time,” David Burwell, director of the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Times. “A lot is due to not only the fact that people have different places they want to go, but also safety and other concerns about going into a car with strangers.”

But start-ups making strides in the growing industry, including Zimride.com, Ridejoy.com, and Avego.com, just to name a few, say the advancement of social media and technology has made the problem that much easier to solve. Add to that the massive opportunity: only about 10% of Americans choose to carpool, according to Census survey data.

San Franscisco-based Zimride is reportedly testing a mobile app called Lyft, which enables users to share vehicles in real-time. So if someone is in need of a ride--even right now--all one has to do is open the app and request a driver nearby, without facing lag time or having to schedule a pick up hours ahead of time.

Ridejoy, another San Francisco-based company, said it will soon integrate Facebook, as well as identification verification and background checks to ensure the safety and comfort of its users. 

Kalvin Wang, Ridejoy co-founder told the outlet: “We understand that there may be people who love the concept of ride share, but are still on the fence due to safety concerns.”

IMAGE: Brian Stauffer
Last updated: Jul 6, 2012

CAITLIN BERENS writes about business innovation and entrepreneurs. Before Inc., she worked at Billboard, SELF, and Better Homes and Gardens. She attended Drake University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
@CaitlinBerens




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