Whether you are new or a veteran to long-distance ridesharing, we all can agree that the available websites out there are not “one-size-fits-all.” After a few visits, you’re left expecting more or at least a better experience.
So why is it so hard to find a good long-distance ridesharing website?
Long-distance ridesharing websites have been popping up for years but as fast as they pop up they quickly disappear. In most cases, the ones that you think that are effective and awesome, are the first one to say “Sayonara!.” You wonder why, right? One of the biggest reasons is that it cannot sustain itself. May it be because of financial reason or user participation. Getting users or members to post an ad for what they’re looking for is a challenge in it of itself. How much more if you ask them to pay for the service? That’s why the free websites out there are thriving better than the ones that try to offer more user experience.
Speaking of user participation or lack thereof, have you found yourself leaving a website because your search gets 0 result? It’s the chicken or the egg paradox. How do you get members to post an ad if they don’t see members on the site? And how do you see members on the site if they don’t post? To get the most out of a ridesharing website you have to be an active participant. Post an ad if you’re looking for a ride or passengers. If they don’t see your ad then they can’t find or contact you. Majority of the members sit back and wait for a rideshare ad to show up rather than letting other members know what they need. Without you, it’s only a matter of time before your favorite long-distance rideshare disappears into the abyss.
How do you know which ridesharing website is best for you?
In order for you to find the best one, you have to determine what’s most important to you:
- Active Members
We hope when we ask the question “What is most important to you when looking for a ridesharing website?” your top answer is safety. Hitchhiking and ridesharing with a stranger without doing a little investigation should be considered a cardinal sin because it’s just too risky. Safety has been such a big issue with ridesharing that several companies have invested time and money to try to resolve this problem.
To give you a better idea of which website you should consider when looking for safer long-distance rideshare, we’ve explored and researched several ridesharing companies features to see how they stack up to the competition.
Websites Safety Features Compared
Why is Craigslist the go-to rideshare service if it’s dead last in safety feature?
Sure, Craigslist is full of listings but what security do they offer to their members aside from allowing you to keep your email address private. There’s really no jaw-dropping features or screening process provided for their members. But you put up with it because it’s free and your expectation to have a risk-free experience is usually non-existent. Like what they say, you get what you pay for or in Craigslist’s case, not pay for.
How do you trust the riders and drivers on the website?
Verify Members Identity
Verifying the rider’s or driver’s identity is crucial. Although ridesharing websites are focused on offering safe rides, a lot of the work is still up to you. A website that verifies user identity by phone or email verification is just not enough. Haydash is the first long-distance rideshare company to make it harder than ever to impersonate someone and is really focused on being more than just a middle man by offering a true pre-screening service and safety features.
A background check is completed to check for any possible serious criminal history.
Driver License Check
Members DL is used to verify the name submitted for the background check and the photo is matched to the members profile photo.
Profile Picture Required
The profile picture helps with your verification process by confirming the person verified is the person you will be sharing your ride with.
Motor Vehicle Check
A motor vehicle check is completed on all members that offer a ride. A MVR check is not required for members that want to take a ride.
Great, so Haydash has gone through so many steps to verify its members’ identity but you’re not done yet! It’s very crucial to do one or more identity verification, such as video chat and face to face meeting.
Video Chat and Meet Face to Face
This is the one safety step most people skip generally because it’s time-consuming but it’s such an important step. Always make sure to schedule a video chat with your potential rideshare to match the actual person to their profile photo. Face to face meeting allows you to confirm who the person behind the computer screen is.
Request a Drivers License
If you choose to use a website that does not require drivers license verification then you should consider requesting a copy to verify the rider or driver’s identity. So that if you need to contact the rider/driver or if you need to contact the authorities, you know their real name. There is some pretty sensitive information on a drivers license such as the address and date of birth that you should not share. The easy way around it is to grab a Post-It note to cover up the sensitive information before you take a snapshot and send it off. Just make sure that it includes your photo and full name. As we’re all little private investigators nowadays, do a quick Google Search to see if anything worth knowing.
Read all the reviews to give yourself a good sense of how your ride will go. Check to see if any riders or drivers offered advice to make your experience more enjoyable such as bringing headphones to block out the heavy metal music blasting for 8 hours.
Avoiding the Most Common Ridesharing Problems
Why is finding rideshare sometimes frustrating? Why do you have to message 5 different people just to find the right person? Here are some common rideshare problems and how to avoid them.
The back and forth messages. This can easily be avoided by writing a detailed rideshare post. If you’re the person responding to the post be sure to give them as much information as you can besides “Is this rideshare still available?” If the post is active the recipient will be grateful with such a detailed response. Be sure to include what time you can go and what city you expect to be picked up in.
Unwanted solicitations. You wrote a professional post with a professional picture but you received a message saying “I’ll go anywhere with you just tell me when and where.” First, hit the report and block button and let the website know. Second, as much as you may want to reply with a sharp retort, it’s important to not respond as you don’t want to give them any reason to write a bad review or give them the satisfaction that you read their message.
No call no show. It’s very common that rideshare drivers and riders start dropping like flies. Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely avoid this as unexpected incidents happen all the time. If you have found a rideshare make sure you continuously keep each other in the loop. Make sure you message the rider/driver the night before and the morning of to let them know everything is still a go. Make sure you have a plan B. Check out flights and bus ticket prices in advance so you’ll be ready to book the day of if needed. This will highly reduce your stress level on the pick-up day if the unthinkable happens. For additional safety net, find a rider or driver “possible”. If you’re a driver find multiple riders to come along and if you’re a rider ask one other driver if you can be their possible.
Getting more views means more rideshares
Post a detailed ad. When a member can see that you really put time and effort into completing your profile and the ad, it shows that you’re a more serious candidate for them. Make sure you’re clear about the destination, time, and pick-up location. Do you allow or will you be bringing any pets, children, or other passengers? Do you have to make any stops along the way or have any special needs? If you receive a message with a good question make sure you update your ad to mention the detail that was left out.
Fill out the “About Me” section of your profile. Let’s face it, no matter how serious the vetting process is, you are still a stranger to your travel buddy and it’s up to you to make them feel comfortable. Include some interesting facts about you on your profile like how familiar you are with ridesharing, your favorite types of music, etc. The more they learn about you the more they will feel at ease to share a ride with you.
Select a professional profile picture. It’s not an online dating website. Your pictures should be just as professional as your Linkedin profile picture. Keep in mind that everyone’s going to zoom in on your pictures and try to judge your character based on your appearance.
Ridesharing DO’s and Don’ts
- Don’t approach the car with your hands in your pockets or in a bag. This can put the driver on high alert and fearful that you have a weapon. This can be avoided by having the items in your hand(s) before you get in the car.
- Don’t get picked up or dropped off at your residence. Provide an address of a nearby store or clubhouse that you can easily walk to.
- Don’t give your contact information out too soon. Wait until you’ve asked all the important questions to eliminate giving your information out to too many candidates. This includes an email address, home address, and phone number.
- Don’t leave the keys in the car when you make stops. Of course, you want the passengers to feel comfortable by leaving the AC on when you make a quick dash into the store but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep your wallet in your pants and not in your purse or bag. Depending on the situation it may be best to keep some of your valuables in the trunk within a secured bag or suitcase if possible. This also helps prevent items from being misplaced.
- Share your location on your mobile device with friends and family. Apple has a feature on the iPhone called “share your location,” it allows you to share your location with a contact so they can track where you are in real time.
- Discuss the route and expected stops in advance. This will ensure everyone gets to their location at their expected time. It will also reduce fear when everything’s going as planned.
Free memberships vs paid membership
Should you pay for a membership? In a lot of cases, you get what you pay for. A lot of free sites do not offer any safety features or require a verification process which allows anyone and everyone to sign up including members that aren’t really serious candidates. If you are paying for membership make sure you have a clear list of features or services that you’re paying for. Majority of the long distance ridesharing websites are free as they only verify members identity through phone and email. Haydash.com charges $9.99 for a Standard Membership and $19.99 for an Elite Membership which covers the cost of the verification process, background check, and motor vehicle check. The membership is good for one year and you get peace of mind knowing that everyone you communicate with has completed a background check. If you’re offering a ride you can easily make that money back and more during your first trip. Plus, they also offer the ability to post ads for roommates. To learn more about its memberships, click here.
Have a road trip coming up? Check out Haydash to search for a rider or driver heading your way.