Private Vehicles Become Europe's Newest Form of Public Transportation

Amid widespread economic crisis, and raising environmental awareness, Europeans are embracing ride-sharing services in staggering numbers, reports Eric Pfanner.
October 1, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Utilizing leading providers BlaBlaCar, based in Paris, and, based in Munich, "[w]orkers making daily treks to and from the office, students heading home for the weekend and even vacationers chasing the sun" are booking ride-shares in numbers that rival other forms of mass transit.

"BlaBlaCar says it arranges 400,000 rides a month - the equivalent of more than 1,000 French high-speed trains, loaded to says it is even bigger, with more than a million rides booked monthly via its site and more than four million registered users," notes Pfanner. 

The leading providers, and their bullish investors, are optimistic about the prospects for international expansion. Although some, including the founder of BlaBlaCar, are skeptical that such services can succeed in America due to cultural and economic obstacles, Pfanner says that, "[i]n the next few months, plans to start its service in the United States, where no ride-sharing site has established a nationwide presence on a comparable scale."

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Published on Monday, October 1, 2012 in The New York Times
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