Image: Hitchplanet via Facebook

It’s been running between Whistler and Vancouver for years already, well before the words “sharing economy” or “ride sharing” were everyday terms.

HitchPlanet is now looking into expanding not only here on Vancouver Island, but across BC, Canada and North America.

hitchplanet_logos_landscapeIt’s the brainchild of tech wizard Flo Devellennes, who started the company (original name HitchWhistler) when he moved to Vancouver and was looking for ways to make Whistler trips without paying $50 for a bus.   The answer was simple: create a network of drivers and hitchers.  In November 2010, the website was born.

Devellennes emphasises that the service simply matches “empty seats” in cars, to prospective hitchers, in vehicles already heading to a medium or long-range destination. Drivers offer up rides on-line, complete with date, time and price per empty seat, and passengers click on it if they are interested.  Then the two parties can negotiate pick-up and drop-off points, exact times etc.  An on-line credit card charge secures the transaction, and helps avoid missed connections.  Drivers can be rated by their passengers, after a trip.

It’s not a for-profit prospect for drivers as the maximum amount they can set the ride for is 12 cents per kilometre, in most cases not enough to even cover costs.  But it means a bit of extra gas money, and company along for the ride.

HitchPlanet already has some Vancouver Island trips offered, and is looking for more drivers to add to the selection.

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