Ridesharing was supposed to be different. As described in an article in the journal Transport Reviews, the movement started as a way to conserve resources in the U.S. during World War II. It evolved over the decades into a green movement to get cars off the streets.
Lately the term has been used to refer to services like Uber and Lyft, which match riders and drivers using mobile phone apps, but pay the drivers to travel in a direction they wouldn’t have gone otherwise. That doesn’t remove any vehicles from the streets.
The same smartphone technology could be used to match riders and drivers who independently want to go the same direction. Since it isn’t clear who would profit from that, it also isn’t clear who would develop and promote the software.
The startup Sidecar started testing an app in May that moved in that direction. Sidecar operates like Uber and Lyft with paid drivers but includes a “Shared Rides” option that allows you to split the fare with another rider who wants to go your direction. So far, Sidecar operates in six metro areas, none in Florida.