Why choose public transportation, trains which are always delayed, taxies which are way overpriced, or busses which are way too full? Now there is backseatsurfing.com, an online platform where you can find a cheap ride to where-ever you need to go.
The slogan of the website is ‘the social network for hitchhikers’, and Backseatsurfer is meant as a platform where people can get cheap (sometimes even free!) transportation. The network facilitates contact by means of profiles people can create, and people can chat and/or make appointments on the platform. This online form of trading an offline service, transportation, seems an opportunity to counteract expensive public transportation.
How does it work? Users can sign up and offer or request rides from one place to another. There are different motives for participating in such a network, namely: money, glory and love. In the case of Backseatsurfing these can all be found; money can be involved (but not necessarily so) when offering a ride. As stated by Anderson (2008) we are living in the era of the free. We are already used that information is free on the internet, but more and more this notion of free also holds for offline things. Not surprisingly, same goes (sometimes) for transportation, and with Backseatsurfer merely the fuel expenses are covered, when a fee is asked for the ride. But there can also be other motives of taking/being a Backseatsurfer, such as being sustainable (not alone in a car), having company, and many more reasons which are not monetary, but focus on love. People can check each other’s profiles on the platform, and reviews can be part in the ‘Glory’ category of rewards.
Is it the end of the month and you’re almost broke again, but do need to get to your parents (for a free meal), you can try backseatsurfing.com! Or do you want to go on a holiday but don’t own a car, or if you think carpooling/hitchhiking is a great idea, or you like to have company when you drive a long way… and so I can continue for a while! See it for yourself at: www.backseatsurfing.com.
- Anderson, C. (2008). “Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business”, Wired Magazine