Like an Airbnb for cars, the ShiftRide mobile app wants to enable local peer-to-peer car sharing.
Created by two students at University of Waterloo in Ontario, this platform uses the same approach as many other sharing economy apps. To get started, simply log in with Facebook through the ShiftRide app, then add your driver’s license and credit card details. After instant verification, you’ll be able to browse nearby cars and book the one you want for one hour or longer. Once you’ve finished your errands, just return the car with a full tank of gas to the same location. When you join ShiftRide as a car owner, the company provides a device to install in your car so renters can lock and unlock the vehicle using the app.
“Over the past few years, the number of cars on the road has continued to grow—and so has the congestion,” notes Mohsen Mohsenpour, co-founder of ShiftRide. “Car sharing is a solution tailored to the needs of young drivers in major urban centres. Unlike other major car sharing services like Car2Go, we don’t buy new cars—our system only uses cars that are already available.”
In addition to helping the environment, the founders of ShiftRide believe their app will save users money. The app is aimed at young drivers, and is intended to make their dollar stretch to the end of the month. “Young people keep putting off their first auto purchase,” says Mohsenpour. “Unlike previous generations, they are not eager to jump into car ownership. ShiftRide wants to position itself as the best alternative for young people who need to make every dollar count.”
Like homeowners on Airbnb, car owners determine the price and availability schedule. When you sign up, you’ll be prompted to set an hourly rate based on the model, year and state of your vehicle. The app will also suggest a price for each vehicle.
Starting next month, ShiftRide will launch a pilot project on the campuses of University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. “We’re testing the app at universities because our main target is young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who don’t own their own car and don’t plan to buy one in the next few years,” explains Mohsenpour.