BlaBlaCar launched a new app and service — BlaBlaLines — designed for short-distance carpooling and daily commutes so that carpoolers can leave their car at home.
The service will be launched progressively, but was initially made available to Android users in select French cities last week.
The new service comes just one month after BlaBlaCar teamed up with ALD Automotive to offer Ambassadors (BlaBla’s most-active carpoolers) with a combination of zero-deposit finance, attractive monthly payments, and fully-inclusive maintenance packages. Ambassadors receive a $21 USD discount on their lease for every month they share journeys on BlaBlaCar.
“In France, we have 300,000 Ambassadors who carpool regularly,” Alec Dent, business development manager at BlaBlaCar, told Mobility Finance in April. “In order to be a BlaBlaCar Ambassador, you need to have at least 12 positive ratings averaging 90% or above, been a member for a year, and have a full profile.”
BlaBlaLines is still in beta, and there is currently no link to the ALD Automotive leasing incentive, Frédéric Mazzella, BlaBlaCar’s founder and executive chairman, told Mobility Finance. However, “future features are yet to be decided,” he added.
BlaBlaCar has a “great digital philosophy,” John Saffrett, ALD’s chief administrative officer, told Mobility Finance in April. “We share their passion for digital in the mobility space; they are looking to expand their mobility solutions offer [by] adding this private lease capability to their website.”
BlaBlaCar aims to solve several pain points encountered when carpooling with the new BlaBlaLines service, such as drivers having to wait on riders, and riders waiting at work because their driver is not ready to leave the office yet.
BlaBlaLines will operate similar to a bus or subway line. BlaBlaLines optimizes the meeting points on the route planned by the drivers and as close as possible to the passengers, according to the website. Passengers can book a ride using the app, which will then automatically create a line and assign a stop. Once a line is opened, passengers can find drivers at any time, in both directions.
Currently, riders can only pay their drivers in cash, according to the website. “BlaBlaLines will remain cash-only while in beta, however, we are looking to add in-app payment for later iterations of the product,” Mazzella said.
BlaBlaCar currently has 40 million drivers and passengers in 22 countries. The flagship site and mobile apps connect people looking to travel long distances with drivers going the same direction, so they can travel together and share the cost. Each passenger makes a fair contribution for their seat, and drivers cover their fuel and toll costs, but do not make a profit.
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