Modo member feedback: Ride sharing
Photo via MEC
We often hear from members that not only do they want to share vehicles but rides too. So, back in November, we asked Modo members for their ideas on how we might expand and grow sharing among our membership.
Below are some of the well-thought out responses we’ve received, as well as staff responses as to the viability of members’ ideas.
“I love the idea of ride sharing. Seems a pretty easy solution might be a ‘rideshare listserv’.”
“Great idea! What if when we book a car we are given three options?
- Normal booking (no sharing)
- Car sharing – one way (share to the initial destination, but not back)
- Car sharing – round trip (share there and back)
If I were going to a farmer’s market, I could book a car and say ‘Nat Bailey Stadium’ in my destination and then choose to take people there or there and back.
Another person who would also be going to the farmer’s market would know where and when to meet (at the car when the rental begins) and, if it’s a round trip, they would know a rough idea of a return (when the rental ends). If they do round-trip, there would have to be a bit more planning because they would need to coordinate a meeting time to start the drive back home. But then they could sign up for that online and indicate how many passengers would be in the car.
The system should then notify me as the initial car booker that one or more people will be riding along.
You could then decide on discounts for sharing (shared amongst co-op members?). As a co-op member, I would sign-up for car sharing – I think there’s minimal risk.
Let me know if you need any further info or want to bounce some other ideas around.”
“Im a techie so I’m partial to solutions that might appear to be easy to use but hard to program. So here goes:
1. When I search for a car, I have a optional additional entry where I get shown a map and I draw a circle or square over the areas I would plan to travel to. I could also mark specific points on a map.
2. The search results for the cars would come back with results including cars booked by people who have also drawn a circle or square over an area and both our areas overlap.
3. The estimate for the cost of the trip could also take into account a rough idea of the distance now.
4. To decide how to share costs, a simple way would be to have the person who has the booking pay for the actual booking (as normal). The second person would negotiate with the booking owner and pay the booking owner directly. The could be done by email (or could be mediated by Modo so each persons email is kept private). Alternatively, you could have a field where interested ride sharers enter a proposed fee (+ any trip specific notes) to the booking owner and the booking owner selects a ride sharer according to whatever criteria they choose.
5. Both the booking owner and ride sharer could rate each other after the trip which gives later people more information as to the reliability of both parties.
I would think you’ve already thought of something like this and are probably way beyond this. Good luck!”
After receiving such excellent, well-thought out feedback from members, marketing director Hilary Henegar asked Modo staff to weigh in on the viability of their ideas.
Mona, member care co-ordinator:
“Regarding Megan’s suggestion: Karen [New] would have to speak to this one, but to me some in-between compromise that’s a little less complicated (but still complex) to code could be the option, when booking a car, is a new tab called “sharing”, accessible on the modify booking screen that allows the booker to split the cost of a booking with other members.
Some sort of permissions would need to be confirmed so that the mbr can’t just randomly punch in other member numbers – perhaps the booker enters the acct number of some other member that they wish to split the cost of a booking with, and in so doing, sends an email to the other member asking them to go online to Engage and click somewhere to give permissions to the booker to split the cost of the booking.
If that email isn’t responded to in time (prior to invoicing), then the cost is not split. If it is responded to in a timely manner, then the cost of the booking is split and that is indicated on the invoice of the booker and those members who are sharing the cost of the booking. As well, Engage would also automatically grant fob permissions to all ride-sharers for that booking.
Oh! I see that my suggestion is another version of Sylvia’s suggestion in the above link.”
Karen New, informations systems director:
“The basic constraint for ride-sharing discussions is that, as soon as one of our members takes money from somebody else for driving our cars, and we have anything to do with coordinating the transaction, we’d no longer be operating a carsharing organization – we would become a taxi service! Suddenly we’d be subject to an entirely different set of insurance and tax and licensing laws, and all our members would have to become taxi drivers. This isn’t really the direction we want to take our co-op.
Sharing expenses and gas money is perfectly legitimate, and members are welcome to operate their own businesses using our cars. But all of those financial transactions must stay between our members. Modo can’t coordinate any of them.
And so it’s not as simple as putting up a ride-sharing board on our website, or setting up a listserv. But we can direct our members to one of the great ride-sharing apps which are already out in the world, so that Modo members know where they can find each other. Any suggestions?
Chris, Megan, Sylvia and Richard have all developed a great idea in which Modo splits the billing. We’ve had it in the back of our mind since 2006, but we didn’t have the resources yet to start development. If Modo bills everyone for their share of the trip, then no money is changing hands among the drivers, and everybody wins. (This is similar to how ride-sharing organizations like Jack Bell work. Everybody in the vanpool pays Jack Bell, not each other.)
I particularly like Megan’s idea of distinguishing one-way ridesharing from return ridesharing. This could make the system even more useful! I’d be careful to distinguish “Carsharing – one way,” which is a different model in which the car need not be returned to its original home, from “Ridesharing – one way,” in which passengers are given a lift to a destination, but not home again.”
Keep ‘em coming! Email infoATmodoDOTcoop with the subject “Sharing” to share your ideas on sharing rides (or boats or cargo bikes or vacation homes or…). Thanks!