exploration journal

Carsharing experience !

3 days ago, I tried Blablacar for the first time.

I believe in the collaborative economy. I support the collaborative economy. I was at the OuiShare Fest and felt superexcited by all the initiaves, workshops, talks, and inspiring encounters.

That’s great.

However, I must say that in my everyday life I do not have the reflex to think about alternative ways of doing the things I do in a collaborative economy way !


The collaborative (or sharing) economy

Maybe some of you do not know exactly what this is about ?

On the OuiShare website – OuiShare is the main Collaborative Economy movement in France (and maybe in the world ?), we can find the following explanation :

« The collaborative economy is defined as initiatives based on horizontal networks and participation of a community.

It is built on « distributed power and trust within communities as opposed to centralized institutions » (R. Botsman), blurring the lines between producer and consumer.

These communities meet and interact on online networks and peer-to-peer platforms, as well as in shared spaces such as fablabs and coworking spaces. »

In other words, it is a peer-to-peer economy in which citizens directly connect and take action to create value and make things change on their own. Many start-ups have been created over the last years in this area, and you certainly know them : Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Blablacar, Waze, Kickstarter, …

The collaborative economy was a revolution in the way our 21st century societies operate and are a manifestation of the new paradigm era we are experiencing right now.


Let’s get back to my story !

As I was saying : 3 days ago I tried Blablacar for the first time.

For a long time I wanted to try carsharing, but never really did it. So this time, as I had to travel from Le Mans to Paris on a Thursday afternoon, it was THE opportunity !

I started looking at the Blablacar website a few days before.

I was surprised about the fact that there were quite a lot of drivers travelling from Le Mans to Paris on a Thursday.


Looking for the right drive

However, it was not that easy to find the perfect match !

  • a driver that was leaving Le Mans at the time I needed to leave,
  • who stopped in a convenient place in Le Mans,
  • who was arriving at a convenient spot in Paris,
  • who had space for luggage

Some of the trips were already fully booked – of course, the one that was arriving close to my place !

The cost of carsharing was around 10-15 euros for a 2h30 duration, while the SNCF fast train (TGV) was 43 euros for 50 minutes.

The day before I needed to live, I booked a trip with Mathilde. Mathilde was leaving in the afternoon and going to Belleville – that is to say that I would have to take the metro and cross Paris (45 minutes more).

But it was the best option for me.


Travelling with Mathilde and Antoine

We were 3, Mathilde, Antoine and I. It was a little strange at the beginning to come into a stranger’s car, and share this quite intimate time with 2 people that I would probably never see again !

We talked a lot at the beginning.

Mathilde was a globe-trotter who had studied business, lived for a few years in Mexico, then a few years in South-East Asia. She had come back to France to develop her own business. So Mathilde drives all around France and does car-sharing very frequently.

It allows her to divide the costs and to travel with company, meeting very diverse and nice people – she told us she had never had bad experiences.

Antoine was a student in Engineering who had done an internship in Africa.

It was very nice and interesting to share with them !

I had a little nap. Mathilde put some music. We were in the traffic jam for a little while.

And then we arrived at Belleville. We gave Mathilde the Blablacar code that confirms that she has actually taken us to our final destination, and that will allow her to receive the payment through Blablacar.


Travelling companions, close to your home

This experience made me think of the « travelling companions » you spend time with when travelling abroad : you get connected and talk with people because you are in the same place, at the same time, sharing a part of the same journey.

With Blablacar (or any other carsharing company, I guess) you can experience this almost any time, very close to your home !

It is a way to meet and share with people that are very different from you, and that you would not meet otherwise !

Last but not least, I have not mentionned the environment-friendly aspect – while we get closer and closer to COP21 ! Of course, it is much better for our planet if drivers are not alone in their car.

So maybe next time, while you are planning a journey, you will think about a new option ?