Long-distance ridesharing platform gaining traction

Looking for a cheap ride up to Sun Peaks? Or maybe you've got one to offer? Try out Pop. (Pop Rideshare)

Looking for a cheap ride up to Sun Peaks? Or maybe you’ve got one to offer? Try out Pop. (Pop Rideshare)

A rideshare company named “Pop” is developing a base of users in Kamloops as it tries to expand across Canada.

In 2010, Pop began as a small project named HitchWhistler. The brainchild of Flo Devellennes, HitchWhistler began as a simple way to incorporate ride-seekers into his daily commute to work from Vancouver to Whistler, following an inspirational conversation he had with a hitchhiker he picked up on the Sea-to-Sky Highway one morning.

Devellennes then slowly developed a community of like-minded individuals who saw the simple benefits of saving money and meeting new people while reducing their carbon footprint, and the idea took off.

Fast-forward to 2014, Devellennes joined forces with his software-developing roommate, Luke Burden, and in an effort to expand the operational area of their project, together they relaunched as an official company named HitchPlanet. The company re-branded to “Pop” in 2016, and despite the facelifts it took to get the ball rolling, to-date they have amassed more than 40,000 members who collectively have over 1 million kilometres of travel under their belts, paving the way for Pop to reach its goal of being the largest intercity rideshare company in North America.

Pop has set itself apart from other rideshare companies by setting a minimum travel distance of 50 km, and in capping the cost of what drivers can charge, they’ve ensured community integrity by making sure that nobody can monetize past the point of offsetting reasonable costs.

Devellennes explained the difference between Pop and Uber in the Vancouver publication The Georgia Straight, saying that Pop “take[s] existing cars and people who are already going somewhere, and help[s] them fill their seats. Whereas Uber pays people a wage essentially to drive around and replace taxis in cities.”

The Pop app, developed for both iOS and Android, is simple to use and functions similar to the app for Airbnb that allows users to book privately-owned residences around the world. Facebook accounts and phone numbers are authenticated, all transactions are via credit card, and users are able to rate each other in a feature that promotes a commonality of principled behavior between users.

With Sun Peaks finally open for the new season, and holiday travelling already underway, why not save some money, meet some new people in the community, and help save the environment?

Cory Michael, a Pop member who lives in Sun Peaks, called the site “really simple to use.”

“I just post a ride when I go to Vancouver from Kamloops. Don’t have to deal with Facebook classifieds groups or Kijiji randoms,” he said.

Michael also likes how there’s no awkward exchange of money during the ride – it’s all done in the app and funds are sent and received through email.

“I’ve met some really cool people using this site, as well, due to seeing the people’s profile beforehand.”