Sophisticated Ride-Sharing in Germany

While conducting research for Living Labs Global these past few months in Germany, I spent a sizeable amount of time commuting between cities and I became particularly familiar with the corridor between Berlin and Hamburg. Following a unsavoury trips on the bus, and a delightful but expensive trip on the train, a friend put me on to Mitfahrgelegenheit, a searchable rideshare website---Simply enter your departure city and destination city and the date you'd like to depart and find rides posted by like-minded folks. Most queries turn up at least a handful of options for any given day on any given route. Clicking through the list, you can see whether a driver allows smokers and the number of free spots available. More selective users can choose a ride based on the pick-up and drop-off location within a city. To confirm your spot, simply call the number listed and reserve a spot with the rider.

From a user's perspective the website works quite effectively. I used Mitfahrgelegenheit twice to make the trip from Hamburg to Berlin and back and in both trips, I had a very pleasant experience. The car was clean, the driver was conscientious and timely, and the ride only put me back 14 Euros----cheap compared to the 22 Euros for the bus or some 60 Euros for the train.

My only complaint is that the website doesn’t have a mobile equivalent. It would be easier to coordinate riders with rides if you could work from a mobile deck and send updates to riders if and when a driver is delayed.

In any case, it’s an appealing service for environmentally-minded, perhaps money-conscientious, travellers.