French Website Makes Euro-Carpooling a Snap

Image: Flickr CC jmayzurk

Wired.com, 12/10/2010

PARIS — Carpooling websites are experiencing a boom in popularity in Europe as commuters, fed up with rail strikes and as concerned about their pocketbooks as their carbon footprints, seek alternative methods of getting from Point A to Point B.

In France, the popular site Covoiturage.fr has emerged as the dominant market force, seeing its membership more than double in the last two years. The site was founded in 2004 by Frederic Mazzella, a Stanford University graduate who had been impressed by both the carpool lanes and the pioneering startup spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area. His site, initially popular primarily among students and old-school hitchhikers, has 750,000 registered members and receives 12 million page views a month, accounting for 85 percent of the French carpooling market.

“For the first four years nothing happened,” he says from the office 15 employees share with other tech startups in the quiet, residential north-west of Paris. “People characterized us as hitchhiking on the web, which is seen as dangerous, because its free and anonymous.” Continue reading “French Website Makes Euro-Carpooling a Snap”