Smart Transport exclusive article
Ali Clabburn, founder and CEO of ride sharing platform Liftshare, identifies three elements around shared transport that need to be in place for it to work: critical mass, trust and a working system.
Liftshare has developed a business model as a service to businesses. Working with employers – who may have issues with traffic and congestion on their sites or insufficient parking for their workforce – Liftshare analyses the proportion of staff who make similar journeys and builds a lift-sharing platform for the workforce.
Working with employers boosts all the elements that make Liftshare work. Communicating with staff through the employer triggers people into rethinking their journey to work.
Analysis of potential sharers enables people to see that there is a critical mass of options for shared trips. And the fact that people work in the same organisation boosts trust.
Clabburn describes how lift-sharing takes root: “People start sharing usually because of an employer scheme – but they continue sharing because they’ve discovered savings and made friends. It’s a sharing mindset rather than a renting mindset. Sharing is not about personal gain so there’s more of a trusting network.”
Within a work community, the fear of being let down is a lot lower – there’s a perception that colleagues are less likely to let you down.
When people worry about risk, it’s not necessarily solely the risk to their personal safety but maybe of arriving late or social awkwardness.
While schemes work perfectly well where there are no issues over parking availability, if there is pressure on parking (e.g. through reserved parking), the percentage of people liftsharing increases.
Liftshare also offers a public facing service (about 50% of users) besides its platforms for businesses.
“People signing onto their workplace scheme usually have the option to make their journey public – which helps boost the pool of people to draw from,” says Clabburn. “Of these business users, 70% are willing to share more widely – indicating that whilst the UK is different from our continental neighbours, it’s maybe not as different as the prima facie case suggests.”
He also notes that the growth of ride share schemes is greatly influenced by wider issues that drive travel choices, including fuel prices, train strikes, rail ticket costs and congestion charging.