BuddyShare – Ride sharing for corporate

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Back in June 2015, when I left my job and thought of going for my dream, I tumbled across many ideas. As a continuation of “Selfie-social” post, I am sharing one more idea that I had – Building Ride sharing app for corporate employees. There are many ride sharing Apps are available in the market, but most of them are focused on general people coming together and planning for ride. Based on my personal experience, I always felt that the hubs where many professionals come together to work, have to go through lot of pain while commuting. Though most of them prefer to have personal vehicle, many still depend on the Public transport, taxi, trains etc. Before getting into the details about my thoughts, lets see what problems I want to put forward.

Public Transport – Unreliable/overcrowded/uncomfortable
Being a user of Public Transport, the list of problems faced while commuting in Public transport will just go on. I will take a pause, but this option to commute on daily basis to a place where we have to spend next 9-12 hours, is really tiring. Unreliable nature of these services always results into frustration and impacts energy. The problem get worse specially during summer and rainy season, where every minute lost, just worsens the situation.

Sharing Apps / Carpooling
Undoubtedly, this option has relieved many and has helped to a great extent but I still see few limitations. The options specifically require a person to create collaboration and chase community to form a group. Rather than having an open model to list availability of ride and letting people choose what to opt for. There are others, which are targeted towards specific set of consumers like comovee. The app enables employees to come together and do carpooling. But the option is not available for hub but for a specific company. The federation of employees from different organisation is not possible. Plus the solution must be deployed by organisation.

Security
While ride sharing is valid option, people prefer to share ride with trusted people. A sense of knowing passenger/driver or any provision to know whereabouts of a person travelling with, definitely increases chances of sharing. Hence people generally prefer to share ride with colleagues or employees from same organisation. This limits the number of choices which could be availed. If the professionals travelling in the close by vicinity could also be listed, the number just goes up. But due to unavailability of information about person working in the similar hub, people (specially females) do hesitate to share ride. The security concern is definitely valid due to the increasing number of crimes and people have a right to know about the passenger they are travelling with.

Unscheduled commute
Well that’s a story of every professional today, no need to explain much about it. The official times are just a legal requirements to quote on website, in reality employees are tied to targets and are expected to stretch work timings. The unexpected surprises require individuals to leave office at varying time and this adds more to the problem of commute. Missing a train or bus, just adds more to the pain. Imagine the importance of a system, to locate any professional from the same hub travelling to/via the destination spot.

Congestion/Pollution/Inadequate parking
Hmm, another self explanatory point!!! The stress of locating a parking spot on an early morning, definitely not a good option to begin your day. Ohh, UK guys you must be seriously upset with the situation and one more frustration factor for ladies. You won’t feel much pain, unless you feel your van is your home, like this guy.

I can list few more items, insufficient change to pay for share ride / payment of toll / rising fuel costs etc. I am sure others can add to it. Now lets have a look at what tickled my brain. Having closely experienced all these problems, I felt need of identifying a viable solution and here goes the list of features, I thought.

The Mobile App must be developed for professionals travelling to a hub from distinct locations. The registration process should ask basic questions like Name, Date of Birth, Employee number, Organisation name, Organisation address and Work email (few more options can be added as per requirement). The verification process should happen by validating email address (may require periodic verification to avoid stale data). A user must be given a choice to register vehicle by adding details like Vehicle Registration number, make/model and a picture. Now lets see, how the actual ride process looks like. Lets name this app – HeyBuddy.

Process
For a moment, lets consider there are four employees of different organisation working in a hub called Digital Techno Park. John, Ricky, Meghan, Christine – all four of them stay in the close by vicinity and work in reputed organisation. John own a decent car and daily travels to his office alone. Other 3 do commute using public transport but always find themselves getting frustrated with amount of time it takes to travel. Christine and Meghan are thinking about sharing rides, but are just concerned with the fact that they don’t know much about people travelling on the same path plus the security. Ricky is always finding difficult, to keep up with the after office plans. Most of the time due to unexpected long wait time for public transport, he always feels there should be better option. John is lucky to have his car, but sometimes feels the cost of travelling in private vehicle is too much. But for him, time is very important. He sometimes thinks to offer ride to others, but don’t want to pickup anyone randomly from street. He is also concerned about his own security. Since all four of them are working in different organisation (though their offices are located in same hub), none of them are aware of each other and the possibility of solving each others’ problem.

Ride Sharing

Ride Sharing

All four of them, come across HeyBuddy and they thought of giving it a shot. John registers his van and volunteers for ride. Ricky, Megan and Christine come across the ride offered by John and feel excited about it. All 3 of them select the ride and John after scanning through the passenger list, approves everyone’s request. Now every morning all 4 of them travel using the John’s Van. Christine being always leaving office on different time, now finds options of Buddy rides available. Her options are now not limited to people working in her company but all the companies in that hub. She plans her work as per the next available ride before leaving for the day.
Available Rides

Available Rides

She also found a convenient option of notifying about her ride to her parents with details about co-passengers and vehicle owner. John has now option to choose whom to travel with and don’t have to worry about payments, as everything is handled via wallet option provided by the HeyBuddy. So what are the highlights of this system.

Authenticity
1. Every user of the System, must provide the work email address to be a part of the system.
2. System has information about the users and hence in case of emergency can trace required details. The information can be used to take appropriate actions and provide more confidence to its users.

Security
1. Trust is important and hence people opting for this option should be provided with enough information. Passengers get to know more about others before choosing the option.
2. An in-app options enables, to make relatives/friends aware of whereabouts.
3. With every ride, users get option to vote for the ride experience. The vote enables to increase trust factor of vehicle owner.
4. To narrow down the list of available rides, an option of listing only the members from the Phone contact list.
5. Users can call/chat with passengers before ride through masked numbers and without a need of exposing mobile number.
6. Vehicle owner has an option to approve/reject request.

Federation
1. Instead of having a company specific solution, the App offers a hub focused ride sharing. Professionals from different organisation come together and volunteer for solving transport problem.
2. People can either book for a ride or can opt for spot ride (available in next 30 mins).

Eco Profile
1. Every ride offered, increases score of Vehicle owner based on the miles covered.
2. Users get highlighted in leaderboard for scores and earn badges based on miles covered.
3. Every passenger also earns points and increase their reputation as trustworthy passenger.

Ride sharing

Ride sharing

Plus other options like Reminder before ride, reputation dashboard, miles covered and number of rides statistics will definitely add value. The leadership board within organisation and across the hub will add sense of pride amongst users. Another advantage of being able to interact people from different organisation and increase the professional network. Additionally, when there is a need to travel to branch offices in different cities, people can post the requirement or schedule, they will be commuting. People from other organisations, following the same route having similar reasons to visit the city, can then accompany and opt for the ride.

What about Business Model? how an App owner will earn money? Definitely this is the most important aspect to keep it sustainable. I will not explain it here and will let you do some homework.

Credits:
1. NinjaMock – Great tool for prototyping mobile screens. I have been using it for more than last 6 months and its great.
2. Psfk.com, washington.edu – For people’s photos.

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