In a pioneering move to address traffic congestion and promote sustainable commuting, Irish transportation efficiency software company Avego is launching its extensive ride-sharing program on Washington’s State Road 520. Bolstered by a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation, Avego aims to revolutionize the daily commute for tech-savvy individuals traveling between Redmond’s Microsoft campus and Seattle’s University of Washington.
Revolutionizing Commutes with Avego’s go520 App
Avego’s go520 iPhone app lies at the heart of this high-tech carpooling experiment. Commuters, both drivers, and potential riders, leverage the app to connect seamlessly. When drivers input their destination, the app matches them with riders heading in the same direction. Drivers retain the flexibility to accept or decline riders based on real-time information provided. The app then guides drivers to pick up riders at designated locations, employing a secure PIN system to confirm identities.
Incentives for Commuters and Sustainable Practices
Avego’s innovative approach benefits both drivers and riders economically. Riders contribute 20 cents per mile, enjoying savings on fuel and vehicle maintenance. Avego claims a 15 percent share of this cost, while drivers earn $1.50 for each ride, along with up to 55 cents per mile (up to the IRS limit for noncommercial travel). All transactions are cashless, conducted seamlessly within the app.
To kickstart the program, Avego is offering $30 credits to participants who complete at least 20 trips monthly. The company aims to launch the service upon securing 250 drivers and 750 riders, with initial interest standing at 200 during the early stages of promotion.
Overcoming Congestion with Critical Mass
Taras Kennedy, Avego’s spokesperson, emphasizes the need for critical mass to make real-time ride-sharing a viable option. The company strategically targets Washington’s 520 bridge, recognizing the region’s heavy traffic as an ideal testing ground. Avego anticipates that the Seattle pilot, its largest to date, will serve as a tangible demonstration of the program’s scalability.
Global Expansion and Widening Access
While Avego plans to conduct additional pilots in Cork, Ireland, and Bergen, Norway, Seattle’s project takes center stage. Kennedy envisions significant market potential once the efficacy of real-time ride-sharing is demonstrated at this scale. The U.S. market excites Avego due to the substantial number of solo drivers—three out of four—representing an untapped resource of idle vehicle capacity. Kennedy emphasizes the positive environmental impact of accessing this underutilized resource.
Competitive Landscape and Future Expansion
Avego enters a competitive field, with other players like Seattle startup Zebigo offering similar ride-sharing apps. NuRide, rewarding carpoolers and mass-transit users, and car-sharing services like Zipcar contribute to the growing landscape of transportation apps. Despite the potential social and environmental benefits, Avego’s iPhone exclusivity for drivers may limit accessibility. However, the company plans to release a Windows 7 app in May, widening access to a more diverse demographic.
As Avego pioneers sustainable commuting solutions, join the movement for eco-friendly practices at CommonShare.