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The Liftshare app is changing car-pooling for the better

Liftshare Main

Finding safe, reliable and inexpensive transport that suits your own schedule is often a real challenge – public transport can be overpriced, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.

For years, many people have joined informal lift-sharing schemes with colleagues and friends – often contributing to the cost of the trip. So in today’s era of smartphones and the Internet, it’s fantastic to see a mobile-focused evolution of the lift-sharing idea – in the form of a new app and service called Liftshare.

What is Liftshare?

Liftshare, already the UK’s largest car-sharing community, recently launched its first ever mobile app, which was developed in partnership with global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi.

People who are sick of high transport prices or short of options, can now join over 400,000 Liftshare members enjoying cheap travel by sharing car journeys. Liftshare lets drivers and passengers share a ride whenever they need to travel, allowing them to save money, help the environment and make connections with people. It’s a lofty ambition on the part of Liftshare, but after having used the app for several journeys, the benefits are clear.

There is already a popular web-based service for Liftshare, but the new mobile app (available for Android and iOS) makes it even easier to find or offer a lift to any UK destination, with easy and secure payments, and gives both driver and passenger support on the day of travel and beyond.

The launch of the app marks Liftshare’s evolution from a web-based online community which matches drivers with passengers, to a fully-fledged marketplace supporting online booking, cashless payments, peer-to-peer messaging and status updates.

Liftshare iOS App

The Liftshare app allows users to:

  • Quickly see drivers going their way, whether they want to travel to work, a gig or a sporting event
  • Offer a spare seat in their car for an upcoming journey at a fair price, with automated price recommendations
  • Choose the best driver for their journey with in-app messaging, user reviews and verified profiles
  • Make and receive payments securely
  • Receive reminders and updates on the day of travel

The launch of the app is supported by a digital engagement strategy which aims to reach Liftshare’s core audiences of commuters; those who travel for leisure pursuits such as football and live music; and those taking weekend breaks or holidays. It is hoped that such commuters will realise the benefits of Liftshare, especially when compared to the inflexible public transport options that exist today.

Liftshare CEO Ali Clabburn
Liftshare CEO Ali Clabburn.

Liftshare CEO Ali Clabburn set up the company in 1998 after using a car-sharing service in Germany, and has since built the brand to become a 400,000-strong community. About the service, he said “Our vision for Liftshare is to solve transport poverty by being first to mind for anyone looking to go on a trip or journey. We’re delighted to be launching a new digital service to help us achieve that ambition.”

Anil Pillai, UK CEO at DigitasLBi, said: “We’re truly excited to be taking the first step on our digital journey with Liftshare. As one of the first ever ‘sharing economy’ brands, we believe Liftshare has real potential to become a household name. We’re confident that the launch of their new digital presence and our continued optimisation of the service using real-time data will help them to transform the way people travel.”

Why is Liftshare is different?

No other competitor has launched with a complete end-to-end lift-sharing experience in the UK. And that is how Liftshare makes the whole process easy: from offering and finding lifts, to booking them online, to getting progress updates on the day and adding reviews.

Liftshare was designed and built just as Google were releasing their new material design guidelines, and so the Android version features elements of the new design language – such as advanced animations, different depths of content and dynamic in-screen behaviours. It’s a fluid and engaging experience that is incredibly easy to use.

It’s a service that tries to change user behaviour and create a new category of travel, in the same way that AirBnB has changed people’s behaviour in the travel market. As a result, Liftshare says the app includes features that may appear non-essential, but that were revealed as necessary to deliver behavioural change amongst its user:

  • Lift-sharing is about people: building trust, confidence and friendship. The app therefore includes profiles, reviews, and a fully integrated person-to-person messaging system.
  • The experience of lift-sharing doesn’t stop at booking: it needs to be supported all the way through to completion. The app supports drivers and passengers on the day of travel with timely push-notifications and status updates. After the journey is completed, users are prompted to rate and review their experience to benefit other users
  • Payments are handled in-app using an e-wallet solution, allowing greater control and flexibility to drivers and passengers

Final words

Lift-sharing is ripe for disruption by using mobile technologies, integrated payment systems, and value-added features such as online communities, notifications and p2p messaging, all of which can be accessed via a mobile device.

Liftshare appears to tick all the right boxes, and has already generated a considerable buzz in the industry – it certainly looks like the future of lift-sharing…

As always, we love to hear your feedback, so let us know your own experiences with Liftshare in the comments below.

The Liftshare app can be downloaded here (Android) or here (iOS).

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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