Innovation That Matters

Site turns ride-sharing into a social game

Publishing & Media

If mobile gaming can turn the dreary to-do list from something we should do into something we want to do, then the possibilities are surely endless for other aspects of life that could use a like-minded dose of fun and motivation. Such as ride-sharing, for instance. As if on cue, Ridekicks is a UK-based site that turns carpooling into a social game with rewards for earth-friendly driving. Now in beta, Ridekicks aims to use fun to help change the way that people use cars. Toward that end, it awards points to users for every shared ride. Users planning a trip can post it on the site as well as promote it on their own social networks, while those hoping for a ride can search for opportunities to share. Drivers who want to charge passengers for the ride can even do so through the site; Ridekicks charges a 5 percent fee per transaction. In any case, every shared mile by either driver or passenger equates to one Ridekick point, allowing both sides of the equation to be rewarded. Points are also earned when those who share a ride put “stickers” on each other’s profiles, as well as when they complete reviews. Points are taken away, however, for those who are reviewed badly. In Foursquare-like fashion, the ultimate goal of the game is to become “The King of the Road,” or the highest-scoring participant; those who earn that title, however, only get to keep it as long as they keep sharing. There’s also the chance to become “The Hometown Hero” — the highest-scoring participant from any given city — or “Captain Planet,” the player who travels the most miles as a passenger. Ridekicks hasn’t yet decided on any reward scheme for accumulated points, but it’s open to suggestions. OK, so that’s two mundane aspects of life converted into games. All you developer-minded entrepreneurs out there: where else does the world need more fun? (Related: More airport ride matchingIn New Delhi, carpooling system rewards members for giving ridesMore social ride-sharing.) Spotted by: Richard Monk



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