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liftshare is an online service that facilitates journey sharing between individual users, as well as providing separate services for businesses, organisations and events.
liftshare allows users to search for and post details online of journeys; by car, bike, taxi or walking, for which they wish to find someone else with which to share the journey with.
After entering a journey, you can search for people who have entered similar journeys and contact them - mediated by liftshare, or wait to be contacted by someone searching for a journey of their own. These journeys' expected routes are displayed on a Google map. There are many options for searching for a matching journey, including smoking preferences. Personal details such as surname, address and email address are not revealed to other users.
liftshare is marketed to people as both an environmentally friendly way to travel as well as a way to save money, especially as petrol prices continue to rise.
They also provide private, branded car-share schemes for businesses, councils, hospitals, universities etc.
liftshare was founded in 1998 by Ali Clabburn when he was still at university after experiencing expensive public transport when travelling between university and his parent’s home. During his gap year he had seen car share offices in German trains stations and, on his return, realised there was nothing similar in the UK.
Early development of the service was characterised by favours from friends and minimal/no financial outlay. Development was achieved through volunteer work and as part of university projects. In its earliest stages liftshare struggled to find a working business model. However, a significant stage of the development was when liftshare was approached by the Glastonbury Festival organisers to develop a branded site to solve congestion and local resident protests.
Clabburn states “It was a huge success and has saved an estimated 10,000 car journeys to the festival each year. It was also a breakthrough for liftshare. Although it didn't charge Glastonbury for the scheme, it showed how it could make money and highlighted the importance of finding people with a common link. This has served as the basis of liftshare's business model: allowing the public to sign up free to the national car-sharing system, while earning revenue from clients who pay a one-off sum plus a regular licence fee for setting up a system for their employees or customers.”
Since then liftshare has gontinued to grow and currently (2009) they have over 1,000 clients consisting of local authorities, universities, schools, communities and hospitals and have won several awards.
Though no new innovations or breakthroughs have come around in listshare's last year, it continues to be used with a good selections of journeys on offer across the country. liftshare estimates that over 135 million journeys will be made in their database over 2012. Though having had some media attention in the past, liftshare is not in the current spotlight - how fast it grows its userbase is key. Though it is arguable that it is already a very successful innovation.