BlaBlaCar or how to travel for cheap

BlaBlaCarTable 1 shows the prices we would have paid for the following one-way trips if we made them a few years age. However nowadays, it is possible to do the same trips for much cheaper prices (table 1). Why? Because since 2006 there is a new company called BlaBlaCar that allows traveling at very low costs, by using the empty seats in the cars of people, who are doing the same trip with their car. In exchange of taking passengers, the driver gets paid to cover the travel costs.

table1BlaBlaCar is present in 12 European countries and it is continuing to expand. The company has a 100% growth rate/y over the last 4 years, more than 1 million passengers travelling by using this company every month, the estimated costs savings are about €100 millions every year for all the drivers that are registered on their website. By founding the company, Frédéric MAZZELLA did not only seek for profit; one of his main concerns was to find a way to reduce pollution. Thanks to BlaBlaCar, the average occupancy rate of the cars that belong to the members of BlaBlaCar is around 3 vs 1,6 for the European average level. In consequence, it reduced the CO2 emissions by 700 000 tons.

The company developed an app that is very user friendly and very easy to use for both the driver of a car or for a passenger looking for a seat. Drivers must subscribe on the website and provide information about their car and preferences (if they like talking, if they accept pets, if they allow the passenger to put their own music…), then they must specify the departure location, the destination, the departure date and hour. Then, when the passenger that is looking for a specific journey can either use the smartphone application or the website directly. First he or she chooses a date and a list of available seats will be proposed to him or her, then the passenger just needs to select one. When the passenger made his or her choice, a request is sent to the driver, who accepts or rejects the request. If accepted, the passenger pays and the seat is booked. Once the booking is done, the passenger receives a code that he or she must give to the driver during or after the trip. Only with this specific code the driver will be able to unlock the money and receive the payment.

After the trip, there is an evaluation system so that the passenger can provide some feedbac ks on the driver. These evaluations are visible for the following passengers. The driver also has an indicator that shows the level of experience he or she has.
Finally BlaBlaCar does not set the prices of the seats, instead it advises to calculate them based on two costs: TC = fuel costs + tolls costs. Then seat price (SP) is one third of TC: SP=TC/3. One third because BlaBlaCar estimates that most drivers will have 3 passengers and that the driver does not need to pay since he or she pays for the maintenance of the car. However, even if the company does not fixe the prices, it does not allow the driver to fixe a price higher than 1,5 times the advised price calculated as previously; this is to avoid drivers to make profit with this platform.


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