BlaBlaCar is a ride sharing paltform that counts 20 million users in 19 countries. The formula is simple and pure genius: hitch-hiking becames a safe and cheap way of travelling, keep its social mark.
Basically, drivers willing to travel with strangers and passengers ready to jump in strangers’ cars can meet online, decide at what time they’ll leave and share expenses, time and chats.
Sharing and socializing are the two key words in the 2.0 life and were trendy even in the 1.0 version, when we were going to school with no phones and teachers and professors would inform parents that “their child had problems in socializing”.
Stirred up by teachers, parents were set on making their kids do numerous recreational activities. If you were lucky, those activities were linked to sports and music, if not, they were related to the incomprehensible world of nature and you would find yourself wearing blue shorts (yes, even if it was snowing) and exercising your physical needs while tied to a tree.
In spite of these absurd impositions, the 1.0 parents were not willing to share and socialize candies and lifts from strangers.
Nowadays, social eating and ride sharing are two widespread and accepted realities. Eating at someone’s place and travelling by car with a stranger doesn’t scare us anymore.
BlaBlaCar and safety
The great thing about this 2.0 world is that you are conscious that every step you take can be traceable. The loss of privacy and mystery is compensated by the safety offered by new technologies. Versailles has opened up to commoners and dematerialized but has maintained its function of sharing and socializing under the king’s surveillance.
Without going too deep into the delicate aspect of big data, what is certain is that in the 2.0 life your mobile is always at hand if you need help, GPS locates your position and social networks allow you to have info about the stranger you are travelling with.
BlaBlaCar, for example, is responsible for checking the drivers, and there is an evaluation system based on feedback, seniority and shared information that classifies users in 5 levels of trust: newcomer, intermediate, experienced, expert and ambassador.
Moreover, not only can passengers choose their drivers, but the drivers can choose who they want to travel with. For women, there is also the option of “travelling pink”, which basically means travelling only with women.
Low cost and sharing economy
The era in which we need to own something is over, along with the one in which we waste things: it is useless to buy a car if you can share your trip, also economically, with someone else. Marx would be so proud of this sharing economy.
Start-ups and multinationals understood this and they offer users the possibility of saving money thanks to sharing goods and services in exchange for a small fee. Well, maybe Marx wouldn’t be so proud of it after all.
While waiting for communism 2.0 and the nationalization of a sharing economy, in order to save money we have gone from travelling third class on the Titanic to ride sharing platforms as BlaBlaCar, which, in many ways costs less than the worst public transportation class.
Moreover, travelling by car allows you to go in areas that are not covered by the railway networks without wasting too much time and money.
Sharing and socializing
BlaBlaCar is not just about sharing money, but also about sharing words.
I don’t know why, but human beings are convinced that talking while travelling is something amazing, it seems that you can actually meet new people and that the trip is not so long after all.
In this way, in airplanes like in trains, you’ll always find someone who wants to interact with you but doesn’t understand two fundamental truths: he is not Mathieu from That obscure object of desire and what he or she has to say is as interesting as watching paint as it dries.
No one also thinks that travelling also means thinking to oneself while looking out the window; just transportation companies think this way and that’ s why they recommend speaking with a low voice to avoid disturbing others. Rules that are always ignored.
Apparently, travellers, not sociopaths, like to talk and that’s why they choose BlaBLaCar, which also allows users to comment on the quality and loquacity of the people you’ve travelled with.
But if you are lucky and you’ve actually found some fun people, I don’t know how far you can go beyond smiling and commenting on BlaBlaCar. Because despite the promise of “let’s have a beer together one of these days”, the ‘summer friend effect’ sets in and it actually expects you to remove the name and number of the person you shared your summer with (in this situation, the journey). You reset everything the moment you get into the car to go back home, maybe by using BlaBlaCar.
"La vita è piena di miserie, solitudine e tristezza e per di più dura troppo poco" (Woody Allen) Scrivere, progettare e intervistare sono le mie passioni, ma riesco meglio nel bere, mangiare e guardare serie TV.
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