A car ride-sharing service which brings together people who are travelling the same way, is easy to use, ensures passenger safety and ticks all the legal check boxes, is finally here.
Start-up ride-sharing app Chariot is driving positive change, and doing it within the law.
Chariot, which launched in BETA in Auckland and Wellington in February this year, offers an alternative to public transport that is super convenient for commuters and contributes to reduction of both congestion and toxic emissions.
Chariout founder Thomas Kiefer says for roughly the price of a bus fare, people who use Chariot can get a ride from, or give a ride to someone going in the same direction. Chariot users, who can be a passenger or a driver, are just looking to share a ride and share the cost of the journey.
“The people who decide to be drivers with us tend to be those who genuinely want to build a great ride-sharing, social community, and share the costs of a commute with other people,” he says.
“Basically we just want to make it easy for Kiwis to get around, and encourage more cars off our increasingly congested roads and infrastructure.
“There are plenty of times when I’ve thought, if only I knew when my friend was going to work, and then I’d be able to catch a ride. Instead, I’ve got in my car, like many others, and joined the long queues,” he says.
“Chariot is designed to build a community of like-minded people who want to share the costs of the ride and are able to organise their ride with just a few taps of their smartphone.”
It is a true community-based model which is affordable, fun and safe, and doesn’t disregard the rules, he says. And the company has developed Chariot Corporate to make it even easier for New Zealand businesses to set up a car-pooling system.
Chariot Corporate assesses an individual company’s needs, employee travel patterns and helps improve commuting outcomes for staff and the business.
Users who provide rides under a genuine cost-sharing agreement are exempt under the Land Transportation Rules, and don’t need a passenger endorsement, says Kiefer.
People who want to catch a ride simply use the Chariot app on their smartphone to browse listings and create ride requests. Once a ride is confirmed, a price is set up front between the passenger and the driver. All payments are securely processed, cashless, through the app.
The Chariot app can be used on Android devices, and will be available on Apple devices soon.
While convenience for drivers and passengers is a priority – so is safety, says Kiefer. The app has identity and vehicle registration functions, and users can share the details of any ride with a contact.
“Apart from pure ‘safety’ we’ve also looked at what makes users most comfortable. So we also have a rating and two way review system, and women can choose to travel only with other women,” he says.