Ride-shar­ing takes on traffic

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY FITZGER­ALD

A friend-to-friend rideshar­ing app seeks to help beat Auck­land’s traffic woes.

The con­ges­tion crunch on Auck­land roads is no news flash, and get­ting across town at peak time can be a trial.

Lo­calift, a ride-shar­ing app about to launch in New Zealand, aims to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to get around by us­ing fam­ily, friend and col­league net­works to get from place to place.

The app user cre­ates lift groups from their smart phone con­tact list and rides can be ar­ranged with these lift groups di­rectly through the app. All lifts are live-tracked.

The app pro­vides one mes­sage to every­one in the lift group at the same time and keeps track of re­sponses.

Lo­calift was founded in Syd­ney by en­trepreneurs Krystyna We­ston and Stephen Coul­ter. They’ve part­nered with for­mer col­league Blair Glubb to bring Lo­calift to New Zealand.

Coul­ter says that he and We­ston wanted to make it easy for peo­ple to ask for help with free lifts among fam­ily, friends and col­leagues.

‘‘What was miss­ing was an app with a so­phis­ti­cated ride­hail­ing type ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ Coul­ter says.

‘‘New Zealand has sig­nif­i­cant traffic is­sues, public trans­port net­works that don’t sup­port ev­ery­day com­muters, mean­ing 70 per cent of us drive into work alone ev­ery day, and with lim­ited park­ing,’’ We­ston says.

‘‘Lo­calift of­fers a so­lu­tion to these prob­lems and makes it easy for peo­ple to use their so­cial net­works to give and re­ceive lifts,’’ she says.

The app also in­te­grates mes­sag­ing, maps, rout­ing and cal­en­dars to help peo­ple co­or­di­nate their travel needs mean­ing more peo­ple travel- ling in fewer cars.

Glubb says that peo­ple can feel awk­ward or em­bar­rassed about ask­ing peo­ple they know for rides.

‘‘Lo­calift nor­malises shar­ing lifts be­cause when you join, your friends on the app are ex­pect­ing to be asked for help and vice versa.’’

Glubb says that while there are some peo­ple happy to jump into a car with a stranger and pay for a jour­ney, other peo­ple are not. He says that us­ing the app will make it easy to share lifts with peo­ple who know each other.

Each ride is free and there is no ex­change of cash be­tween rid­ers. Lo­calift is free to down­load in app stores and the premium ver­sion will be free un­til 2017.

Go to lo­cal.net for more.

The app in­te­grates mes­sag­ing, maps, rout­ing and cal­en­dars to help peo­ple co­or­di­nate their travel needs mean­ing more peo­ple trav­el­ling in fewer cars.

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