Every empty seat in every car clogging up the freeway in the morning is an opportunity lost: an opportunity for the driver to reduce the cost of his/her commute, for the traffic congestion to lessen, for the environment to breath a little easier. At present, we use only 15% of our car passenger carrying capacity in this country. If only there were a way for a driver and others sharing the same destination to match up....
This is the concept behind startup Avego. The internet site, currently recruiting beta testers, pairs up drivers with seats to spare with those willing to share the cost of the trip. Drivers use their iPhone and its GPS feature to register their location and destination. Avego attempts to hook them up via voice response, texting, or web interfaces with like-minded passengers. The passengers can use any cell phone; only the drivers need an iPhone.
Avego also calculates and apportions the passenger's share of the commute cost beforehand. Companies and other communities of users can create their own circles within Avego. The site also gathers feedback to identify and avoid inharmonious matches, and allows both driver and passenger to limit selections to those of his/her own sex.
Drivers in areas with high-occupancy vehicle lanes might find this service particularly useful in allowing them access to this time-saving turf. Avego, and the similar Pickup Pal, could really be useful if enough people embrace it. Critical mass is the key, and if this or a similar system were to click with the public, we could dramatically drop our energy use and pad our pocketbooks.
Register here if you're interested in being a beta tester.