Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BlaBlaCar Makes Traveling in Europe Affordable and Social

BlaBlaCar is a car sharing service connecting drivers with empty seats to passengers in need of a ride. The low-cost travel community is the brainchild of Frédéric Mazzella, who wanted to get home to his family in the French countryside one Christmas. He didn't have a car and couldn't get a seat on the train. He also noticed that several people were driving alone in their cars, and he thought he would try to find a driver going his way and offer to share fuel costs in exchange for a ride. When Mazzella discovered there were no websites that would allow him to do so, he decided to create one. He saw the potential of a peer-to-peer transport network – it would solve congestion problems, make travel more affordable and social, and present huge environmental and economic benefits.

After Mazzella launched a first site, he met engineer Francis Nappez, who joined the team as a co-founder. Mazzella subsequently recruited Nicolas Brusson, and the three set out to scale the business in Europe. Today, BlaBlaCar has over 5 million members in 10 countries. Each month, more than 1 million people travel with the service.

Using BlaBlaCar is easy. If you're a driver, you can offer a ride. If you're a passenger, you can look for a ride. Once you've found something that works for you, you start planning your trip with your fellow travelers. BlaBlaCar's automatic price calculator suggests a price per passenger; drivers can adjust this amount but prices are capped so they can only offset their running costs and not make a profit.

To date, BlaBlaCar users have offered 24.3 million seats, shared nearly 2 billion miles, and saved about 700,000 tons of CO2. The community's over 1 million drivers save an estimated £100 million each year.

BlaBlaCar has been featured in the London Evening Standard, Daily Mail, BBC News, All Things D, Wired, Financial Times, and more. Additionally, BlaBlaCar has won an Ecosummit Award and was named a Global Cleantech 100 company. Wired included it in its “Europe's 100 Hottest Startups” list as well.

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