When I was in Europe a few weeks ago, I kept hearing people talking about the app BlaBlaCar. I thought they were poking fun at the teacher in Charlie Brown, but in fact they were discussing a billion-dollar travel company that’s great for travelers going on longer trips between cities. It’s not for travel within a city. BlaBlaCar hasn’t made its way yet to the United States, but you can use it in: Germany, Spain, France, Croatia, India, Italy, Hungary, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Russia, and Ukraine. There’s a website, but it’s available for iOS and Android.
BlaBlaCar connects travelers with people already driving their cars on long distance routes. There are just three easy steps in finding an inexpensive lift, per the site:
- Find a ride
Just enter your departure and arrival points and your travel date. Choose a driver to travel with. You can see their age, sex, type of car, route, time they are leaving, passenger rating and driving experience as BlaBlaCar member (Ambassador, Expert, Experienced, Intermediate). If you need more info, ask the driver by posting a public question. Sample fares: London to Bristol a 190.6 km (118 miles) has fares starting at £9 ($14 USD). Obviously, this isn’t as reliable as a train ($45 USD), bus ($16 USD) or renting a car. It sure is a lot cheaper and a great way for both parties to save some money.(Good to know: You can check the trusted profiles of all their drivers, with photo, mini bio and ratings left by other members.)
- Book with credit/debit card
Book your seat via secure credit/debit card payment – you’ll then receive a booking code. Your driver will be immediately notified of your booking—you’ll get their phone number to arrange the final details.(Good to know: If your driver cancels, you’ll be refunded according to the terms of our cancellation policy.)
- Travel together
Be at your planned meeting point on time. Give your booking code to the driver during the ride. They encourage riders and drivers to rate your driver after the ride so others can get a better feel for who they are traveling with.
The reason it’s called BlaBlaCar is its system that relays how much you want to talk to your driver. Select “bla” if you’re not feeling talkative, but you can also choose “bla bla” if you’re a little chatty, or “bla bla bla” if you’re keen to make conversation.
The 1.2 billion-valued company just raised 160 million and they take around a 10% cut of the price of each ride.
Have you used BlaBlaCar? How was it? Let us know in the comments below!
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