If hitchhiking was version 1.0 of ridesharing, then Craiglist was version 2.0 – without much of an upgrade in the creepy factor. But startups like RidePost are hoping to give a better reputation to splitting rides with relative strangers.
Part of Fortify Ventures, RidePosts lets drivers post upcoming trips and invite passengers to split the costs – so far, just like Craigslist. But they added a slew of safety features: everyone has to log in with Facebook, so you have some sort of verified identity. The site uses TrustCloud to calculate an online trust score from your activity on sites like eBay, TripAdvisor, and social networks, and to verify your email address and phone number. Users can post reviews of each other, like whether drivers were late or passengers smoked. And RidePost handles the credit card transactions (taking a 14 percent fee), so drivers don’t have to worry about getting gipped.
But RidePost’s goals are loftier than preventing drivers from getting mugged by passengers. In fact, they hope to foster a few friendships. That’s part of the reason why the site integrates with Facebook – you can read up on someone ahead of time and even pick a few topics for conversation.
The car- and ride-sharing landscape has blossomed recently, and RidePost occupies one corner. The right column could be called “peer-to-peer” sharing.
But even within its own corner, there are differences. While Tickengo focuses on shorter distances in town, RidePost focuses on long-distance trips out of down. In fact, they moved from South Carolina to DC to target DC “transplants” who take frequent trips back to their home states. In that way, the DC startup is aligning itself as a cheap fourth mode of transportation: planes, trains, buses, RidePost.
RidePost was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail DC mixer in February.