The Guardian talks lift-share

The concept of ‘lift sharing’ always fascinates me. You see, people (Manzini, Papanek etc.) have been talking about this idea for a very long time. Of course, we service designers are all very familiar with Livework’s Streetcar initiative, which has some impressive statistics

“each Streetcar replaces at least six privately owned cars on the street. The figures show that over the next 2 years Streetcar will prevent the emission of around 2,000,000kg of C02.”

The Guardian’s blog discusses:

Would you stick out your cyber thumb for a lift?

In these uncertain financial times, more and more people are turning to cyber-hitvhing – car pooling via the internet. Would you get into a car with a stranger?

We have sites such as carshare.com, liftshare.org. Avego.com is the latest site to emerge and looks set to be the most hi-tech. Their service, which is currently recruiting beta testers, allows drivers to use GPS-enabled Apple iPhones to register their location/destination and be matched with like-minded passengers, who can use any “common cell phone” to send lift requests via text.

The current rising star in online car sharing is PickupPal.com, described by its founders as an “eBay for transportation”, where passengers request a lift and drivers set a fee. Founded in January, it now has 100,000 members worldwide and the original 7% commission charge has now been scrapped, leaving it free to join, like most of the others.

Read more here… it seems to make sense on paper, but I just can’t shift the feeling of uneasiness about getting in a strangers car. What can service designers do to shift this? What are they missing? How can we turn car sharing into an epidemic?….