For the most part, Americans hate carpooling. And while many of us grumble regularly about traffic, we like driving our own cars—and are willing to pay the price in terms of lost time, wasted fuel, and extra frustration.
Even though we can save money with shared services like Uber Pool and Lyft Line, they aren’t nearly as popular as alternatives in which riders have a vehicle to themselves. And it doesn’t help that users and drivers find the carpooling options from the two popular ride-sharing services confusing and frustrating.
Now a new app called Hytch is paying people to share rides by partnering with companies and organizations that want to promote carpooling for reasons such reducing traffic congestion, fuel usage, and tailpipe emissions. Hytch partners pony up cash rewards (and other incentives, such as preferred parking) to get employees and others to carpool.
Hytch, which launched in Tennessee, tracks when users are sharing a ride via GPS and works whether riders are carpooling in a private car or via a ride-sharing service. After confirming that users have carpooled with at least one other person running the app, everyone gets paid per mile traveled via a PayPal account or bank transfer in $10 increments.
Nissan Shows it Pays to Carpool
This week, Hytch announced a partnership with Nissan that sweetens the deal for those in the Nashville area, where the automaker has its US headquarters.
Nissan North America will pay Hytch users $0.01 per mile anywhere in Tennessee and $0.05 per mile within the 10-county Middle Tennessee area. With other sponsors adding their own rewards to Nissan’s, Hytch said users can earn up $0.12 or more per mile in some areas. If you have a 20-mile roundtrip commute and drive 100 miles a week, this means you can earn $12 a week for using Hytch or $48 a month.
Nissan gets corporate responsibility points out of the deal—and valuable data. “Tennessee is home of Nissan’s North American headquarters and this partnership benefits the environment and our community,” said Dan Teeter, director of Vehicle Connected Services for Nissan North America.
Teeter added that the support of Hytch fits with the automaker’s “investing in new solutions as part of Nissan’s vision for the future of mobility.” Nissan also said it views the Hytch hookup “as a competitive advantage because the app will enable a better understanding of consumer behavior as more people embrace new forms of mobility.” And no doubt Nissan plans to apply data gleaned from the Hytch partnership to prepare for the future adoption of robo-taxis.
According to Hytch, a 6 percent adoption rate in carpooling would eliminate 1,500 daily trips into the Nashville metro area—or “the equivalent of adding an extra lane to the interstate at any given point.” But even carpool lanes in traffic-choked areas such as Southern California haven’t been enough to get most people to give up their individual vehicles in large numbers.
If Hytch catches on, we’ll see if offering drivers cash to ditch their own cars will do the trick. Would you?