Saturday, 28 September 2019


In order to curb congestion along the capital’s crowded corridors, Brussels’ municipal authorities are encouraging the return of hitchhiking, albeit with the help of a digital intermediary, to match up drivers with spare seats—most ridership as in most of the developed world is a one occupant per vehicle).
At first it struck me as a gimmicky partnership, but the point of putting the scheme behind a mobile application is not to try to rival other ride-hailing and rider-sharing services but to instil a sense of trust, insofar as the person that one’s who is accepting the ride may be a stranger but is not unknown to the network, registration and vetting required and a digital fingerprint is left in case something untoward were to happen. There’s no payment involved for using the service, leaving any exchange up to the driver and passenger, if any, and the chief motivation is to reduce traffic. The app could also, I suppose, become a gauge of reputation for problem riders or problem drivers. What do you think? Would you sign on? Old, traditional solutions are often not the most sexy or exciting but still the most reliable.