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Massive scale hitch-hiking

Hitch-hiking in cities reducing traffic
  [vote for,

OK. I've noticed people are mostly afraid of hitch-hiking other. The way to convience the driver to give a lift to someone is to give him a proof his passenger would not kill him or steal his car ;)

Imagine a simple system built around Bluetooth and GPRS. Let's call it Unitaxi. You're on the sidewalk. You send a message via Bluetooth that you need a lift to the city centre. Some drivers passing by are also using Unitaxi app so they receive your message and decide wheter they can give you a lift. Let's assume someone decided he's going to give you a lift. You send him your username and he checks Unitaxi website to see other people opinions about you as both driver and passenger. If everything is ok he calls your via cellphone and tells you where is he waiting.

Any comments?

greetings! kyokpae

kyokpae, Jul 02 2003

[Jinbish] in his car <snigger>. http://www.drtomorr...ature/bubblecar.jpg
"Come on! Jump in, there's loads of room." [silverstormer, Oct 04 2004]

Jinbish's compact http://www.homeandg...om/images/22837.jpg
[my face your, Oct 04 2004]

Slugging http://www.slug-lin.../About_slugging.asp
Washington DC Slugging [GenYus, Oct 04 2004]


You appear to be trying to deny all those long distance lorry drivers their 'sport' and also taking thefun out of hitching.
Personally, I used to enjoy the Frisson of the meeting when *neither* party knew who the nutter was.
gnomethang, Jul 02 2003

       This is merely a shareware version of the widely installed taxi system. Given that cities have found it necessary to regulate taxis, I imagine they have all sorts of objections to freelancing like this, even if it's for free.   

       Put in a Bluetooth, WiFi, heck even an RFID system for hailing cabs, though, and you'd make me happy.
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003

       Welcome to the halfbakery.   

       This isn't really hitch hiking at all, but some kind of communal taxi service.
snarfyguy, Jul 02 2003

       I think it's still hitch-hiking only with the method of signaling your need of a lift changed. But name it's called is not important. Will it work - that's important ;) I can imagine this could also serve well for hailing taxis but if I ever develop this app I'll forbid to use it in commercial way.
kyokpae, Jul 02 2003

       So how's anyone ever gonna pay you for it?
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003

       In the more remote parts of Russia, they have an established cultural mechanism that if you want a ride, you simply hail anyone. Whomever stops, if you trust the look of them, you haggle a price for whereever and get in. It's more than a little scary, but it's as common as a New York cab.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       We did an idea like this before (but o'course I cannae find it). The idea was for open-road hitchhiking, but the principal was the same.   

       What are the odds that you'd be listed as a serial killer in the online database?
phoenix, Jul 02 2003

       DrCurry - I wouldn't charge any money. I belive city council would pay for the server as this system prooves to reduce traffic   

       RayfordSteele - we in Poland have slightly different custom. We don't have to pay for a ride but the chance u get a lift is very poor. Especially in the city.   

       pheonix - I don't understand you. You mean - how a serial killer would be listed in the database while all his victims are already dead ;) ?
kyokpae, Jul 02 2003

       I think fear of hitchers is a culturally specific thing - apparently the Japanese are very accommodating in this regard. I blame Rutger Hauer for Westerners' fear of thumbists.   

       Also, if the rating is based on past experience as hitcher/driver, what chance has the virgin hitcher?
my face your, Jul 02 2003

       my_face_your: you can provide some detailed information about yourself on your Unitaxi subpage containing for eg. your photo, age and name. to make your credibility higher you can also pass some kind of validation test involving replying to snail letter or something. it's all upon your will. if you really want to use this system you probably provide enough information to convience drivers you won't make any problems. drivers won't at most give a lift to people who didn't provide any info about themselves. whole the "negative/neutral/positive opinion" system would also work for or against your credibility - it's all upon you ;)
kyokpae, Jul 02 2003

       I like the current drive-by system where you get to look at the other guy/gal, and have a quick chat before you decide.   

       I think [kyokpae]'s idea would work best with general avaition. There are occasionally adverts for fuel sharing, etc. but a formal internet meeting place where you can check out the other guy's ride, his experience, etc and cost sharing demands would work great - especially when there's a pilot's strike or something.   

       I'd generally be happy to take a pax or two (subject to weight restrictions) as I figure most passengers wouldn't try to mug me and a light A/C's not much of a terrorist weapon. An experienced/comfortable pax would actually be a safety boon, as they'd be there to slap you awake if you zone out on a high altitude long distance flight.   

       What I'd need that the system would provide is a system of matching pax to aircraft at short notice, agreeing all-in weight and fuel costs and providing a legal/insurance framework.
FloridaManatee, Jul 03 2003

       FloridaManate: aah. I didn't knew there are people who can offer a free seat on their plane's board. interesting idea. Bluetooth would be of no use here. simple forum with registered users and mechanism to search out upcoming flights would be enough. after the flight u get a mail asking of a "review" of a passenger / pilot.   

       and one more thing about unitaxi. looking at your future passenger before you take him would the final step in this system ;) this system will only provoke them to do this test. people don't hitch-hike in city, at least here in Warsaw, while almost every car in the rush hours has only driver's seat occupied.
kyokpae, Jul 03 2003

       Baked: The "Mitfahrzentral" in Germany (Lift centre) does just this. People who are making a long (or not so long) journey and who are part of the scheme, contact the zentral and let them know.   

       Then the hitchhikers phone the zentral and ask what's available for a certain journey. If anything matches up, the zentral give the two parties the appropriate contact numbers to arrange a meeting place.   

       The passenger only pays half the petrol money (or a third or a quarter depending on how many hitchers there are) and all the drivers are registered with the zentral and therefore, a safer bet than any old tom, dick or harry in a motorway service station.
squeak, Jul 03 2003

       squeak: halfbaked I'd say ;) this system in Germany works for city-city routes which are being planned at least few days before setting out. your actual daily route in city is more or less random. you can be hiked only by those who are not far from you.
kyokpae, Jul 03 2003

       I can see my myriad of non-driving, lay about, scrub like friends trying to use this to ask me for a lift if I'm nearby. Of course I'll swing by, slow down... and then leave 'em behind in the gutter where they belong!   

       Nice idea - if a bit 'Big Brother'-ish. The ownership and conduct of 'Unitaxi' would be a big concern to me. (But then again so is Paypal etc..)
Jinbish, Jul 03 2003

       In Lancaster (UK) there's a well known hitching point on the road south out of the city where people that want a lift to the university regularly use. Some students guides even list it in their city plans.
oneoffdave, Jul 03 2003

       jinbish: bigbrotherish' ? hell no! you won't pass your coords to anyone. just signalising people nearby you need a lift.
kyokpae, Jul 03 2003

       Ah, you see [kyokpae] it'll start like that, but some ruthless 'Enemy of the State' type will catch on. Before you know it, you've been traced and the signal sent to the 'authorities' ... BAM!
Its your Mum driving by... "I told you never to hitchhike...blah..."
Jinbish, Jul 03 2003

       <suppresses snigger at Jinbish's claim to having sufficient friends to constitute justified use of 'myriad'>
my face your, Jul 03 2003

       "pheonix - I don't understand you. You mean - how a serial killer would be listed in the database while all his victims are already dead ;) ?"
That's my point. The database won't be much good at tracking people who are (un)known to be dangerous. This leads us back to the problem of what's in it for the driver?
phoenix, Jul 03 2003

       pheonix: driver would get the same thing he gets now taking passengers - gratitude and feeling that he did something useful. add to this a chance of meeting new people and a system of stars given by happy passengers (passengers could also be given opinions). ah - i'd encourage to leave your car one or two days a week and trying to get unitaxi instead ;)   

       ravenswood: maybe - but someone still have to write app for mobiles...
kyokpae, Jul 03 2003

       Uh... I think that if there was a series of recorded pickups of somebody in the system, and all (or even a significant portion) of the drivers wound up missing, it'd be pretty damned easy to tell who it was.
mortenal, Jul 03 2003

       [mfy], [Harold]: Right, that's it. You pair are never getting a lift again. To be honest I couldn't fit you in anyway, the car is so chock-a-block with my *real* friends.
Jinbish, Jul 04 2003

       Relevant point: Jinbish drives a bubble car.
my face your, Jul 04 2003

       [mfy] I think I found his picture (linky).
silverstormer, Jul 04 2003

       Sadly, [ss] that was my old car. My new one is a compact.
Jinbish, Jul 04 2003

       Washington DC has had a process called slugging. Drivers will stop at a slugging point and call out their destination. They will then pick up passangers (strangers) and drive to that destination. The driver gets to use the HOV lane and the passangers get a free ride.   

       Granted, it isn't as high tech as your idea, and there is no database of users, so maybe it isn't baked yet.
GenYus, Dec 04 2003

       I thought of this a while back (inspired by DC slugging). You could have some sort of karma-points system. New users would have to complete a few routes before they could get enough points to bum rides.   

       Taking care of "cheating" is more problematic. You have to verify that a trip was completed successfully and on-time to award points. Can't think of anything but the honor system unless some sort of geolocating is involved.   

       You'd also want to require a certain number of *unique* passengers, to prevent a small group of carpoolers from racking up too many points.   

       As far as the ax-murderer problem: The "service" could require insurance, criminal record, etc. check before signing you up. A one-time fee could take care of all this. Besides, I haven't heard of a slugging-related death in DC, though thousands of people hitchhike every day into work.
RobotVoodooPower, Nov 19 2005


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