Many inspired ideas probably come from people daydreaming while stuck in traffic. But how many of those aim to solve the traffic problem itself? That’s exactly what happened when a team came up with the idea for Blancride, a free to download app that facilitates carpooling.
“On a daily basis, we were spending many hours of our days stuck in traffic and dealing with huge gridlock problems, and when we looked around us, we noticed how many people were driving alone and thought that if we could at least put some of these people (who are most likely headed to the same general area) in the same cars, what a big impact it could have,” says Hamid Akbari, CEO of Blancride.
Here’s how it works: Drivers and passengers download and register with the app, and it connects people who are travelling to the same area. At the end of the ride, the cost is automatically transferred from the passenger to the driver through their preregistered account. A trip of less than 20 kilometres will cost about $5.
The app is currently targeted at university students because there are a large number of people travelling similar routes every day. The Blancride team plans to expand across the GTA and eventually to other cities across Canada.
They have addressed potential safety concerns that people may have as well. “The app employs GPS tracking and user’s satisfaction to ensure that rides are monitored and completed as planned,” says Akbari. “It also allows the option of rejecting matches, and we will soon update the app to allow driver/passenger preferences, so women can choose to only be matched with other women, etc.”
The launch of the business was facilitated by their association with Spark Centre, a non-profit organization that offers support to technology-based start-up companies. “Spark Centre has always been a great supporter of what we’re doing,” says Akbari. “Our goal is to build a successful business, and Spark Centre definitely has resources to help us. Also, leveraging the expansive expert network at Spark Centre has really pointed us in the right direction for our fundraising goals.”
“We started Blancride because there was a problem that needed to be fixed,” says Akbari. “Not only is carpooling a solution to our everyday traffic woes, it is also environmentally friendly to boot!”
for more information, visit blancride.com