Vancouver Startups Are Building Innovative Solutions To Replace Greyhound
After Greyhound announced yesterday they will withdraw most services in Western Canada, two Vancouver startups say there is huge potential to innovate on how people get from A to B.
Vancouver, BC – Flo Devellennes, CEO and Co-founder of Poparide already made a call out to municipalities in Northern BC last March to adopt their intercity ride-sharing technology after Greyhound announced their first set of cuts. The problem, Devellennes said, was that “running transit on corridors with insufficient demand inevitably requires subsidies, an approach which has proven to be financially unsustainable.”
As new forms of mobility like car-sharing, bike-sharing and ride-hailing become increasingly popular in cities like Vancouver, Devellennes sees a real opportunity to innovate in the regional transportation sector. “We’ve witnessed a lot of innovation for urban mobility in the last few years, but very little has been done for regional transit. We think there is a real opportunity to solve these problems in a new way, with a fresh set of eyes.”
Poparide matches drivers with empty seats with people heading in the same direction. The company boasts nearly 100,000 members across Canada and operates under provincial carpooling regulations, whereby drivers can collect a contribution towards the costs of operating their vehicles, but cannot turn a profit. This model is different from Uber’s, where drivers are hailed on-demand through an app and drive people for profit.
“By filling empty seats in cars already on the road, we are able to offer people rides at a very low price while reducing the driver’s costs, so there is a benefit for both drivers and passengers. We don’t need any additional infrastructure to run and we’re simply making car travel more efficient. It’s faster, cheaper and we verify all our members to provide a safe experience. Another major benefit is that by providing an organized platform for people to rideshare, we reduce people’s need to hitch-hike from the side of the highway.”
Another Vancouver startup, Spare Labs, is also paving the way for more efficient mobility by providing on-demand solutions to transit agencies and companies throughout North America and Europe. “Modern technology has enabled new and more efficient ways to match demand to supply, and create more flexible transportation systems. This is a great time to try new ideas and better serve communities throughout Western Canada”, says Kristoffer Vik Hansen, CEO and co-founder.
With the provincial government already talking about which services to support next, companies like Poparide and Spare Labs are asking to be considered as viable options. “It is time to really consider all possible options to offer modern, seamless mobility for all these stranded communities. Poparide already works and we’re testing some other approaches at Spare Labs, including transit on demand which could revolutionize the way we transport people”, adds Vik Hansen.
Poparide is a city-to-city ridesharing platform launched in Vancouver in December 2014. It boasts nearly 100,000 members across Canada and has helped its members share over 6 million kilometres. Popular routes include Vancouver to Squamish ($10 a seat), Calgary to Canmore ($10 a seat) and Kingston to Toronto ($20 a seat).
About Spare Labs
Spare is on a mission to accelerate the shift towards efficient and autonomous mobility by enabling anyone to plan, launch, scale, and analyze a smart transportation network in seconds. The company was founded on one idea – data-driven mobility. At the core of Spare Labs’ offering is the Spare Platform. Spare Platform is more than just a single service, it is a platform on which to run various data-driven mobility services. Essentially, Spare Platform is “Amazon Web Services for Transportation”, a cloud operating system for transportation. Spare’s customers and partners include Toyota, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, RATP Dev, Kolumbus, and more. Read more about Spare at sparelabs.com.