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BlaBlaCar: the largest long-distance ridesharing community in the world

BlaBlaCar is the world’s leading long-distance platform, a global, trusted community of 90 million drivers and passengers in 22 countries. The platform connects people who want to travel long distances with drivers who travel the same way so they can travel together and share the cost.

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Nicolas Brusson, Fred Mazzella, Francis Nappez
Pictures here and below: BlaBlaCar

BlaBlaCar was founded in 2006 by CEO Frédéric Mazzella, CTO Francis Nappez, and COO Nicolas Brusson. Currently, BlaBlaCar operates in Benelux, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Slovakia, Czech, and the United Kingdom.

How the idea came about

Frédéric Mazzella, CEO of BlaBlaCar, had never missed a Christmas at home and was determined that 2003 wouldn’t be that year. With no seats available on the train, he asked his sister to pick him up from Paris. As they were driving, he noticed that a lot of cars were going in the same direction and they were either half-empty or with only the driver.

After searching online, he discovered a handful of listings on various forums with people offering to share a ride. It was at a very low scale and so unorganized that finding someone who was doing the same trip at the same time was next to impossible. Fred understood that this could be massive. In each empty car seat, he saw a gap in the market and was convinced that other people would benefit from such an affordable, convenient, and friendly transport solution.

How does BlaBlaCar work

The BlaBlaCar service is a platform for carpooling, where drivers and passengers agree on a trip in advance: the driver offers free seats in his car, and passengers planning to go in the same direction book them. The passenger indicates the desired point of departure and destination, after which the service displays suitable offers from drivers.

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After the trip, users leave public reviews about each other. The administration of the service controls the cost of a trip (on average, a passenger pays no more than one-third of the cost of fuel for a particular trip). 

The service is monetized due to the commission that is charged from passengers in some countries. In each country, BlaBlaCar first gains a large number of users, then transfers the community to an online booking system, integrates the platform with local payment systems, and begins monetization.

What else does BlaBlaCar offer

BlaBlaCar has launched several new services over the past couple of years. The company acquired Ouibus and renamed it BlaBlaBus. The service operates in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. BlaBlaCar plans to continue growing its BlaBlaBus network across Europe. 

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In addition, the company operates a car-sharing marketplace for daily commuting between your home and workplace called BlaBlaLines.

Also, BlaBlaCar is partnering with Voi, a European e-scooter service. BlaBla Ride scooters will help French cities and their citizens have access to safe and sustainable mobility at a time when it is more crucial than ever. Both companies remain separate legal entities.

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Due to the Covid-19, the BlaBlaCar launches a community app BlaBlaHelp to support each other with grocery shopping during COVID-19. The service is free of charge. The community already counts 2000 BlaBlaHelpers, power users who support other BlaBlaCar members with the use of the service via a dedicated chatbox. They do so in their free time and on a voluntary basis to help develop a global carpooling community, BlaBlaCar writes

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Into account, BlaBlaCar doubles the occupancy rate of cars whilst operating a carbon-saving network. In total, 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 were saved by BlaBlaCar carpoolers in 2018, thanks to the relative efficiency of filled cars versus alternative modes of transport, Zero Empty Seats reports.  

The company employs approximately 500 employees of 35 nationalities around the world, about two-thirds of the staff work in France.

BlaBlaCar in figures

  • 90 million members
  • 22 countries
  • 25 million travelers per quarter
  • More than 1.7 billion saved by members since BlaBlaCar’s creation
  • 263 kilometers is the average distance of a BlaBlaCar trip
  • 30 billion kilometers shared by the community since BlaBlaCar’s creation

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