WASHINGTON – As transportation planners try to solve the traffic woes in our region, a new smartphone app aims to offer solutions.
RideScout founder Joseph Kopser says the app gives users choices.
“Just like you buy an airline ticket, we are very much like the Kayak of ground transportation,” he says.
After you download the app, just punch in two locations and RideScout offers options from taxis, Metrorail, Metrobus, Capital Bikeshare, Car2Go and Sidecar. Each shows a cost and an estimated time of arrival.
For Metrorail and Metrobus, the app also offers the next train or bus that’ll arrive.
For Capital Bikeshare, the app shows the closest stations to the start and end points, and how many bicycles are available at each location.
And for Car2Go and Sidecar, it’ll show you the closest location to pick up a ride.
Car2Go is a car-sharing service that lets users rent a car from designated spaces in D.C. Sidecar is a shared-ride service that allows people to hitch a ride with registered drivers in the area. Drivers must have a clean driving record, proper insurance and a full background check before being a registered Sidecar provider. Passengers pay the driver, although there is no set price like a taxicab.
“We’re the first mobile app that combines public transportation, private commercial transportation like taxis, Car2Go and Capital Bikeshare, as well as the social rides, the carpooling. We’re the only app to do all three because it’s hard,” says Kopser.
Also, RideScout allows travelers to utilize multiple modes for one trip or use one method in one direction, then another method to return. Users can also start their own social rides, allowing people to arrange trips to a similar destination through services like Facebook. Kopser says he hopes that one day RideScout could help sluggers better arrange rides in Northern Virginia.
For now, the app is mainly focused on Washington, D.C., but the company hopes to expand toward the suburbs. RideScout is working to integrate commuter bus services in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun counties and hopes some of their partners with Halo, Car2Go and Sidecar expand along with them.
“I think this idea has been invented 10,000 times a night. People at bars or people staying late after work. It’s a problem we all face,” says Kopser.
Whether the app catches on and whether it helps improve the traffic congestion in the District of Columbia remains to be seen.