Your car is idle 90% of the time, so why not make some money from renting it, asks Forbes Magazine. With rising gasoline prices and other recessionary constraints, carpooling is a growing phenomenon in the United States. One interesting business idea taking advantage of the trend is car pooling service, Ridejoy

What is Ridejoy?

Ridejoy facilitates carpooling, also known as ridesharing – where two or more people share a car on a journey to reduce transport costs and/or ecological footprint. Ridejoy is the brainchild of four young entrepreneurs known to the world by their first names – Kalvin; Randy; Jason; Margot and Seth. All seasoned travellers and self-confessed geeks, the idea for Ridejoy grew out of their experiences with informal transport systems the world over – from America to Asia and Africa. After organising rides for over a thousand people for the famous Burning Man Festival in the Nevada Desert, the fab four decided Ridejoy was a business idea worth pursuing.

How does Ridejoy work?

The Ridejoy website caters for two groups of people – those who need a ride someplace (Passengers) and those who are offering a ride someplace (Drivers). Drivers post details of where they’re going and how many spots they have to offer on the website. Ridejoy automatically emails Drivers whenever a Passenger contacts them. Drivers set the terms and conditions of the rideshare (including cost – although there are suggested tariffs) and Passengers pay through the website via credit card (with Rideshare taking a percentage of sales, of course). Drivers can also browse Passengers and contact any they think suitable. Passengers are able to search for rides to specific destinations, using the site’s search function, or post a ride request and the site will suggest suitable matches.

While Ridejoy’s tagline, Sharing Rides with Friendly People, sounds perfectly comforting, doesn’t this hitchhiking business idea sound a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Not so, says Ridejoy, car pooling is perfectly safe. The start-up expresses its commitment to safety with handy safety guidelines about carpooling. They also insist on users logging into the site via their Facebook profile, so that they have access to profile pictures and other information about potential Drivers and Passengers, as well as making use of digital identification verification of driver’s licenses. Safety concerns aside, the Ridejoy team must be doing something right – recently, they managed to raise a staggering $1.3 million in seed funding, proving the business idea’s worth to venture capitalists.

For more inspiration…

Check out these car pooling/car sharing services:

  • Zimride– Save money and meet people heading your way
  • Pool My Car – Matching drivers and passengers all over India
  • Let’s Carpool – Find a carpool match anywhere in New Zealand.
Ridejoy Business Idea
Image courtesy of Ridejoy