Ride-sharing app set to ‘drive change’
New Zealand’s newest ride-sharing app for commuters across short and long distances has launched a BETA release and promises to be the start of a transformation in urban, suburban and inter-city transportation.
People can now download the Chariot BETA app on Google Play for their Android devices and quickly, easily and safely connect with people driving in the same direction. Chariot intends to also launch an iOS (Apple) version. 
Wellington-based Chariot CEO and co-founder Dr Thomas Kiefer says he’s excited to be launching the service with its positive spin-offs for commuters and the environment.
“For roughly the price of a bus fare, people who use Chariot will be able to get a ride from, or give a ride to someone going in the same direction. It is a convenient, affordable, fun and safe way to get to where you need to go,” he says.
The Chariot app launch coincided with Auckland's recent bus driver strike, when commuters were being encouraged to find alternative transport. 
“Beat Auckland traffic blues, get the app and ride-share with others,” says Dr Kiefer.
Users of Chariot may drive passengers and can rent up to three seats in their car and share the cost of travel, while passengers can catch regular or one-off short trips and long-haul rides with others.
The model works within a genuine cost-sharing agreement, where Chariot users share the costs of a trip. 
Users who are drivers require a full driver’s license, but don’t need to have a “P” endorsement, as they are not transporting passengers for reward or hire. They simply receive a contribution towards the cost of the trip, says Dr Kiefer.
Passengers can browse listings or 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. 
While convenience for drivers and passengers is a priority – so is safety, he says.
“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,” says Dr Kiefer.
Meanwhile drivers can browse requests and create their own listings as a way to fill up empty seats.
Drivers can pick up and drop off one or more passengers heading in the same direction – thanks to Chariot’s ground-breaking ‘waypoint -matching’ algorithm.
“We are particularly proud of this feature, which will generate more matches, a higher uptake of seats and in return, less cars on the road,” says Dr Kiefer.
Check out Chariot’s website at www.chariot.co.nz or download the app on Google Play at https://app.adjust.com/jas50t
Photo: Chariot CEO Dr Thomas Kiefer.