Every day I wake up to two things on the news: traffic and weather. While we can put on a raincoat or a sweater, there is not a lot we can do about traffic. Or is there?
For generations driving alone has been the dominant way Americans get to work. About 100M Americans drive to work by themselves.
The cost of driving alone to work is absurd. Across the US, the average one-way commute is about 26 minutes, but where I live in the Bay Area, it stretches longer. If you look at the folks that commute more than 30 minutes each way, driving alone costs:
Scoop, a company that I stumbled upon several months ago is aiming to change how business commuters are getting to work.
Of course they want to change the obvious hurdles, but Scoop, and particularly the co-founder, Rob Sadow want to change the quality of life suck that really hurts individuals and communities. Longer solo commutes have been linked to higher divorce rates, lower health quality, and weaker social networks. You bring the frustration of sitting in traffic home with you to your significant other, your kids...and over time that makes a big impact. What if we could take back 100 of those hours and give them to our friends and family?
Up until recently, carpooling has always been this great idea that was too difficult to execute. Its not easy to find people coming from where you're coming from, and most people don't know what time they want to go home when they get to work in the morning. So carpooling felt stressful.
But the world is changing. Smartphone adoption is now at nearly 80% vs. 30% just five years ago. People understand how to use apps on their smartphone to get from one place to another.
The sharing economy has reminded us that we can trust our co-workers and neighbors, reducing the barriers of getting into a car with someone we might not know well. Millennials are also significantly less interested in car ownership than prior generations and very environmentally conscious. Employers increasingly feel that they have a role to play in reducing the commute burden for their employees and are responsible for reducing their carbon footprint. Finally, public policy has shifted to focus more aggressively on reducing congestion.
So, why Scoop, and how do they work? Their model seems to be based on three major things: longer distance commuters, partnership, and purpose. With an average trip length of 15-20 miles, Scoop focuses on folks that are regularly commuting longer distances versus your typical hail-a-driver model. This is also a differentiator, as they are really taking cars off the road, instead of putting more on the streets.
Scoop partners with large companies to incentivize employees to share trips, as well as government to bring people to existing public transport. The model allows Scoop to offer a real alternative to driving alone to folks that don't live near public transit and can't afford to spend on hailed drivers over long distances. It seems like people are enjoying it--commuters have scheduled 20,000+ trips with Scoop in the last four months. What I personally love about Scoop: I save real money on my daily commute.
The changes we are seeing in the world are creating a tide of momentum away from driving alone and toward more sustainable options that benefit individuals and the broader community. All I know is they are going to lower my road rage and maybe even save the environment!