If you were given a choice between a cramped bus and a nice, comfy car – which would you pick? Most people would choose the latter. However, would you still go for the car if you knew you had to share it with a complete stranger? Hitching a ride is a practice that one could reluctantly embrace or totally reject. It’s practical and it’s cost-effective. You might even earn a new friend on the way. But in the end, it all boils down to which view of humanity one believes more: that humans are all inherently good or that anyone could be a serial killer so it’s better not to take the risk.
But what if you saw that person’s Facebook page before choosing to share a ride with him? Would you be more open to riding with them then?
Ridesharing sites like Zimride and Ridejoy are incorporating Facebook into their service. They now require users to have a Facebook account so that those who will be sharing the ride with them will have an idea of who they are. It could certainly make you feel a lot safer if you see that the person you will be riding with has relatively normal interests.
The sense of security that this lends to those who will use the service is no doubt helpful. It also provides people with an opportunity to actually get to know each other before sharing the ride, making the initial experience less awkward.
However, the system can also be abused. Desperate people could use it as a vehicle for dating. In fact, they can easily use the service to steal a few private hours with their ‘prospect’ in the guise of needing a ride. They can simply browse the service for any picture of someone who looks beautiful or handsome and sign up for a ride. Also, predators could create fake Facebook profiles to make themselves appear more normal and benign. A system like this will always carry a certain degree of risk.
Possible disadvantages aside, ridesharing could be a very practical mode of transportation. Those who have an extra seat can save on the fuel bill, and those who don’t have a car can save a bit of cash and enjoy a more comfortable ride.
It’s interesting to note, that ridesharing is just one of the many services that have moved into the social sphere. Earlier this month, KLM announced a feature called ‘social seating’, which will be implemented next year. Social Seating will allow passengers to choose who they sit next to on flights which is somewhat similar to the Ridesharing concept