BlaBlaCar is a ride sharing site that connects drivers and passengers to travel together. You always see people on the road with empty seats in their vehicles, so why not make some money and offer some lifts? A friend of mine described it as ‘organised hitch hiking’ which I think gets the idea across.
To start you make a profile on the site. It asks basic questions and to connect social sites for verification etc. As a passenger you would then search for a trip e.g. London to Bristol. It will tell you who is doing that drive, on what day/time and the price. Some people post about their trips very far in advance and others a few days before, so just because a route isn’t there on your first look make sure you check back later to see! Sometimes there are routes from nearby destinations and the driver is also willing to make a little detour to pick you up, it’s all as flexible as you make it! They post what their car is, how many seats they have and a description about themselves (plus there are reviews). The pricing system is done entirely by BlaBlaCar depending on how many rides the driver has given and distance. Very simple to understand and easy to get started!
So I did a journey from Brighton to Bristol with a friend. I found it a few days before and the driver lady was really friendly and helpful. There is a heart pumping moment when you’re waiting for them to arrive – what if it’s a scam or they’re really mean/going to kidnap you? As this isn’t their main job like Uber or being a taxi driver, you do feel a little scared but suck it up and go with the flow! Our driver pulled up in her yellow, hippy van and made us feel right at home right away. The usual first-impression/conversation happened with ‘who are you’, ‘what do you do’, ‘where are you from’ and then things just flowed more naturally. She offered several times to stop for rest breaks and in return we offered her snacks from our bag. Once we arrived we handed over a code that BlaBlaCar supplies and she entered it in to receive her payment. Super easy!
It is still finding its’ feet in the UK but overseas in France and Spain lots of people use BlaBla. It was around £15 which is a pretty decent price compared to trains and buses. I think if you’re a social person give it a try, or if you drive a certain route a lot then why not make some gas money and invite company?