Hitch a ride digitally with Ridejoy's new rideshare app
Ridejoy’s new app for the iPhone, launching today (August 1) in the Apple store, is something akin to hitching a ride digitally; instead of sticking your thumb out along the side of the highway, your using your thumbs to get a ride via the information superhighway.
Ridejoy is the first rideshare app, an expansion on a website that launched this time last year. The San Francisco company, which estimates that eight percent of its website’s users are Canadian, are launching the app north of the border as a testing site before taking it to the U.S.
“It’s really an app,” says Jason Shen of the website-cum-app, who founded Ridejoy with then-roommates Randy Pang and Kalvin Wang. The three started the company when they were looking for rides to Burning Man last summer, and realized that there was a serious hole in the market. Within a few months they had over 1,600 registered users by word of mouth alone, and raised over $1 million from Silicon Valley investors.
Ridejoy takes a page out of Couchsurfing.com’s book, verifying their users’ IDs and includes a reference section for each member where others can say how they were to travel with. Ridejoy takes it one step further, and gives the option of linking accounts to Facebook profiles, to give a more complete picture of a person.
Donna Vasquez has used the Ridejoy site on a few occasions. As a driver who lives and works downtown, she says that she was looking for ways to cut costs but didn’t feel entirely comfortable with craigslist, which doesn’t vet its ads in any way.
“I’m a little less weary [finding rideshares] now that there’s a site like this,” Vasquez says. “People take the time to post a somewhat decent rideshare ad.” She says that profiles linked to Facebook profiles made her feel more comfortable, because she could get a sense of the person she would be riding with.
Sometimes it’s just a ride, and you don’t care if your personalities mesh. If you’re feeling lucky, or desperate, Ridejoy’s app features a function called Autopilot—just punch in where you need to go and whether you’re a driver or passenger, and it automatically matches you up with another user with matching criteria.