Orlando, Fla. – An Orlando-based startup is attempting to make road trips less lonely, more environmentally friendly, and monetized – by allowing users to sell and buy seats in a car for long distance trips through an easy-to-use web application.
hat differentiates Ridesurf from taxi apps Uber and Lyft is that the driver must already be planning a trip and have an extra seat(s) in their car. If they are willing to share that seat with others for a fair price (the app suggests $0.09/mile) they can post the trip on Ridesurf, where a passenger can book it. The appeal for potential passengers is that it feels like having a private driver for around the same rate as the bus, sometimes even less. Pairing people already going the same way has the added benefit of being better for the environment, easing traffic congestion in crowded cities, and increasing parking space availability.
The app has many built-in safety features, such as valid photo identification, car identification information, and public ratings and reviews that cannot be altered–much like Airbnb. Women also have the option of riding only with other women. Users must meet in a public location, show each other valid IDs, and report back to the service any issues with the ride. The company has plans to implement insurance coverage in the near future. Among its other distinguishing features are the ability to set smoking, music, conversation, pets being allowed and luggage preferences.
Ridesurf was founded by Eliecer Vera and Breezy Baldwin, both students at the University of Central Florida. Eliecer wanted a way to monetize his frequent trips from Orlando to Miami when he drove home on weekends, and Breezy had a similar desire–to monetize her frequent solo road trips across the country. They were accepted in to Starter Studio’s exclusive “Ideation Accelerator”, an intense six-month incubator, which they graduated from this month. Now they are in the UCF UpStarts program, and receiving mentorship at UCF’s Blackstone Launchpad.
You can find Ridesurf at https://ridesurf.io. Although the company has targeted Florida for its initial launch, it is open for sign ups anywhere in North America, and will begin rolling out official launches in other states in the coming months. The company also plans to launch an iOS and Android App by summer.