There is still no sensible alternative to a car in suburban areas. The number of bicycle paths is increasing, but not everyone has the fortitude to commute by bike to work every day (e.g. 2x30km) regardless of the weather condition and time of day :-)
At the same time, the problem of traffic jams on city commuter roads has remained unsolved for decades and is growing all the time. The financial, time and environmental losses we all incur because of this are enormous. They average as much as several hundred zlotys per person per month. One of the reasons for this is that cars drive ... almost empty - their average occupancy level is 1.3 people or a mere 30% of their "capacity." This results in an absurdity - an economic and ecological paradox consisting of the fact that to move 50-100 kg of our own body from point A to point B, we drag an average of a ton of steel with us in the form of our car, consuming huge amounts of energy and emitting adequate amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Economic losses associated with traffic jams on the roads - quoted by PRAWO.pl
Traffic jams and obstructions in major Polish cities cost drivers 3.6 billion PLN in 2014. Compared to 2013, this is an increase in costs of more than 5 percent. The annual cost of traffic jams per statistical driver last year was just over PLN 3,000, which was 68 percent of the average monthly salary in our country, according to the "Report on Traffic Jams in Poland's 7 Largest Cities" prepared by the consulting firm Deloitte and the Targeo.pl website, which was presented to journalists on Thursday. From an economic point of view, time lost in traffic jams is a loss, the size of which can be estimated as the cost of lost benefits - time that could be spent on work or rest. Working drivers (unemployed drivers were not counted - PAP) in Warsaw, Lodz, Wroclaw, Krakow, Katowice, Poznan and Gdansk lost an average of 13.7 million zlotys a day in traffic jams in 2014, or nearly 301 million zlotys a month, making the mentioned 3.6 billion zlotys a year.
Read more on Prawo.pl
One of the solutions to this problem could be shared, neighbourhood commuting - that is, a new approach to the topic of carpooling, also known as "blah - blah," etc. In our project, however, we focus not on cross-country rides, which we use on average several times a year, but on daily rides and short routes.
DojazdyRazem.pl is just that, a system that supports daily neighbourhood commutes to work, the mall, school, etc.
We are launching this summer.
We designed the system to make creating arrangements quick and efficient. It's designed to make it possible to agree on a shared ride in the order of 10-20 seconds, without the need to call or text.
Why will our proposed system be better than existing solutions?
Why commute together?
Our proposed solution is to support neighbours, acquaintances and people who already know each other or are eager to get to know their neighbours. We want to focus on supporting short daily trips on routes "from under the city" to "the city", for example, "Milanowek - downtown Warsaw" or "Naleczow - Lublin". We are starting from the Warsaw area, and then we will expand the system to the whole of Poland.
The system is already in preparation - we plan to launch it in the summer of 2022 in Warsaw and the surrounding area with the funds of our foundation (which we managed to raise earlier). The current collection is aimed at preparing the application in version 2.0, with expanded functionality (e.g. accounts for children in our care who need to be transported to school, functions of reciprocity, i.e. mutual point settlements instead of cash, and much more).
In addition, we are collecting to cover the not inconsiderable costs of implementation in more municipalities and moderation of the system. We need to raise funds to "spin up" the system before it can sustain itself from user contributions - subscriptions planned at PLN 5 per month.
The system will NOT take commissions on settlements between neighbours and will not interfere in settlements between drivers and passengers. Instead, we will provide a mechanism of "reciprocity", i.e. points, with the help of which you can reward each other for giving a ride (I give you a ride today and get points, and tomorrow I pay with them to another neighbour who gives me a ride somewhere). Points are a mechanism developed in our other project: www.Wzajemniak.pl
Of course, users can also settle each other in cash, which is already done exclusively between them. It is also possible to treat giving each other a ride purely socially - the application does not interfere in these matters in any way.
Economics of mutual rides:
According to our estimates, a contribution from neighbours for gasoline allows you to get to the city centre from a distance of 20-40 km for an amount in the order of 5-10zł, which is probably 10 times cheaper than if you use the popular Uber. Why? It's simple, in uber it is necessary not only to cover the cost of the car but also the driver's time. With us, it is enough to drop the cost of the car. After all, the driver, our neighbour, also reaches his work or shopping and does not require payment.
Examples of benefits for the driver who takes passengers - reducing fuel and car maintenance costs:
Driving in the morning, for example, from Podkowa Leśna to Żoliborz, we have to cover about 25 kilometres. The cost of fuel on such a route is about 15 PLN one way. If we take 2-3 passengers and ask them to contribute 5-10 zloty each to the fuel, they will pay less than for a WKD ticket plus a subway ticket, and they will be at their destination much faster. So it looks like a shared car trip can be cheaper than suburban/public transportation. Who would have expected that?
Co-passengers will finance most of the cost of fuel and depreciation of the car. Daily practice of such cooperation can save about 200-300zł per month or more. Neighbours-passengers will also save because if they travelled the route with their car so far, the gasoline price will be only 30-50% of the cost of travelling alone in their car.
How will our system be maintained?
We assume that it will be able to be maintained from small subscriptions, planned at about 5 zloty per month. PLN 5 is the amount that both passenger and driver save after the first ride together. In addition, the first quarter of using the system will be free.
This small subscription is necessary to maintain the servers, moderate the operation of the portal and finance IT work.
To all those who help build the system and participate in the collection we offer a bonus for supporting the project at the stage of its construction:
Each contribution to the construction of the system within the framework of this “drop” will be converted to a double subscription, for every 5 zloty and multiples paid now, we offer twice the subscription later.
Who are we?
The DEMOK.pl Foundation team has been active in the Internet startup market for more than 20 years. Our first project was the eBilet.pl portal launched in 2001 and the latest is www.wzajemniak.pl - our experience guarantees the success of the project! Link of one of the project leaders: https://www.linkedin.com/in/startuphub/
Besides, true to its name, it is working on building information systems to support direct democracy. One of the first implementations of this type is a rank exchange for evaluating officials and public figures launched locally for Podkowa Leśna residents and available at: www.Demok.pl
Traffic jams on the roads are a serious economic and environmental problem that civilization has been struggling with invariably for at least half a century. Without much success.
With each decade the problem becomes bigger and bigger as there are more and more of us and our planet becomes too small. Too small not necessarily to accommodate us all, but to produce food, clothes, a computer, an apartment or house with a garden and, of course, a car for each of us. I once did a simple calculation with my students to answer the question of how long there would be enough oxygen on planet Earth if nature did not reproduce by photosynthesis what the debauched primate civilization consumes.
We reached for statistics on global consumption of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal), calculated the molar masses of the simple chemical reaction C + O2 => CO2 and then the volume of the atmosphere and the mass of all the oxygen stored in it. We ignored oxygen dissolved in the oceans, consumed by humans, animals, forest fires, etc.
Simple calculations showed that with a hypothetical lack of oxygen reproduction by vegetation - caused, for example, by the dusting of the atmosphere after some big volcanic eruption - we would run out of oxygen after just a decade. It will run out in the sense that its content in the atmosphere will drop from 21 to 18 percent, the concentration that oxygen has in the air we exhale (!), which means that we will start suffocating. If one were to pull this simple thought experiment further, oxygen would run out in a literal sense after fifty years, setting the planet back in development by some 3 billion years. The dusting of the atmosphere after a volcanic eruption and the reduction of sunlight is something that could realistically happen - it happened, for example, in the 19th century in the Iceland and Ireland area, reducing potato yields and causing famine.
Of course, any consideration of oxygen consumption pales in comparison to the fact that in the meantime we would have emitted such large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere that by the time we ran out of oxygen, it would have killed us much faster, or more precisely: cooked us, the greenhouse effect. The forests that are being cut down so greedily in the Amazon and in Poland are converting this CO2 back into oxygen. Each year, however, less and less.
Why is it worth looking at how we use cars?
If you look at the economics and ecology of different modes of transportation, it turns out that travelling by anything bigger than a bicycle is already a kind of abuse. That's why the author of this text travels around Warsaw exclusively by bicycle (and subway), 365 days a year, even at minus 10 degrees Celsius. Simply put, religion prohibits me from using a car in the city. I'll explain why in a moment.
The economic and environmental paradox is that to move 50-100 kg of your own body from A to B using a car, you drag a ton of steel with you, which is 10-20 times more than you weigh yourself. The contrast with a bicycle, which in turn weighs 10 times less than we do, is obvious. We accelerate and brake all that mass even dozens of times along our route, consuming huge amounts of energy and emitting adequate amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The same drastic proportions are revealed when we compare how much road space is taken up by a person driving a car (even 100 m2, depending on the speed of the vehicle), a bus (a few m2), a bicycle (similarly) or a commuter train (zero).
To make matters worse, we usually travel alone in cars - studies for Poland say they are filled by an average of 1.3 people, or about 30% of their capacity. We see this, after all, standing in traffic jams on city access routes every day - the absolute majority of cars we pass have only one passenger, i.e. the driver.
Car use thus appears as an ecologically irresponsible manifestation of consumerism. No animal on the planet consumes as much as homo, allegedly, sapiens. Respect, therefore, should be paid to anyone who, when driving to work, decides to choose a bicycle and leave four wheels in the garage.
However, it is known that in suburban areas there is still no meaningful alternative to the car. Bicycle paths are increasing, but not everyone has the fortitude to commute by bicycle to work every day (e.g. 2x30km) regardless of the weather condition and season.
That's why it's worth changing something about the way we use cars. Using cars alone has the obvious consequence of having a huge number of them on the roads, especially during the morning commute to work or school and the evening return.
Studies conducted across the country by technical universities and consulting firms point to the huge financial and time losses associated with standing in traffic jams. They show that the average resident of a large Polish city loses about 8-10 hours (!) each month standing or crawling slowly in traffic. This time could be used for work, entertainment or to spend with children - that's almost one day a month.
On the financial side, it looks just as bad - specialised estimates of the losses (fuel costs, time, etc.) incurred by daily commuters to city centres and experiencing traffic jams speak of amounts in the range of 3-5 thousand zlotys per year. This is the same as two decent refuelings a month, which is certainly noticeable. Therefore, it is worth revisiting this topic.
The project www.DojazdyRazem.pl of the DEMOK Foundation (www.fundacja.demok.pl) focuses on providing residents of suburban towns and neighbourhoods with an online and mobile system for efficient, semi-automated coordination of daily, shared commuting to "the city," i.e. to work, school, the mall or simply to the nearest train station.
The main goal of the project is that each day some of the cars in the town will stay at home and the very process of getting along in pairs, threes or fours travelling in a single car will be much simpler and faster than in the car-pooling applications known today. When possible, the process should take place automatically, behind the user's back, so to speak, but following the rules set by the user.
We start using the system by tagging all our friends and neighbours we see in the app (or inviting them to join). Those we know very well and trust can be marked as "close friends."
With such people the system will connect us for rides completely automatically - it is enough that it notices that we are going in a similar direction at the same time.
Users can appear in the system as drivers, who declare their rides (providing seats in their cars), or as passengers, who throw into the system queries of the form "who will take me tomorrow from point A to point B at the given times ?".
To make the booking and selection process smooth, the system relies mainly on the friends tagged in it, people who already know each other or are eager to get to know each other, because, after all, they live, often for many years, in the same locality.
Associating drivers and passengers is not the end of the system's capabilities. If the database contains declarations by the drivers themselves with similar times and directions, the system will suggest that they get along with each other, drive together and leave one of their cars at home. If one of these drivers declares in advance that he can let go of driving his car today and join someone, the system will be able to act automatically by associating him with some neighbour who "must" take his car today. By neighbours, we mean people living in the same neighbourhood or town, no more than a few kilometres away.
Importantly, the system will, on the one hand, take care of users' safety (for example, allowing the collection of data such as drivers' driving style ratings) while avoiding the collection of any sensitive data. The system will not know our home addresses at all, nor will it turn on the GPS function of our phones or note our location in any way.
When making appointments for rides, we will use virtual stops - points of interest that are well-known and distinctive in the locality, such as a post office, school, church, train station, well-known store or cafe. Such places that everyone knows or can easily figure out where they are. We will define rides as routes from a selected "stop" in the starting locality to the corresponding "stop" in the destination locality. To shorten our daily trip planning as much as possible, the system will allow us to define a list of our standard, repetitive home-to-work or college or stud farm, swimming pool or shopping centre trips to start with. Later, it's enough to activate in the system's calendar that we take a given route on the indicated days of the week at the appropriate times. This way, in 5-10 minutes we can create a plan of our rides for the whole month. Thanks to this, the subsequent creation of commuting teams will already be very fast, in the order of 20-30 seconds or fully automatically.
This drive to reduce the time it takes to organise a ride is the essence of the entire Internet revolution. The task of all the portals, services and stores that have been created by the thousands since the beginning of this century was simply to reduce the transaction costs (that's an economic term) we used to incur to book a hotel, theatre or airplane tickets or do any shopping. The first successful startup by the creators of the DojazdyRazem.pl system was the now fairly widely known eBilet.pl portal, created between 2001 and 2009 and acquired in 2019 by Allegro amid a scandal, which is a separate, interesting story with a sensational-criminal tinge (www.eBiletHistoria.pl).
Before the launch of eBilet, the transaction cost of buying theatre tickets was about 2 hours to get "there and back" plus the cost of gasoline and parking metre, together, depending on the value of our time, it could be from tens to even hundreds of zlotys at today's prices. Nowadays, the whole operation takes 10 minutes over the Internet and instead of paying for fuel, we pay some additional booking fees, very beneficial if we live far from the theatre. This is just one of the thousands of possible examples.
Until now, the traveller matching applications in operation required about an hour of our involvement to arrange a trip to Bieszczady or Masuria. The time was mainly needed to verify the companions of the future trip. The ambition of the creators of Dojazd is to reduce this time to less than one minute by taking advantage of the obvious fact that daily commutes to work or school are highly repetitive and take place among the same people, who after a few rides should already know each other very well.
What benefits will users of the system have? What are the economics of reciprocal rides? According to our estimates, the gasoline “chip in” to get to the city centre from a distance of 20-30 km should be about 5 PLN with three people travelling together. If there are only two travellers and we include in the premium not only the cost of gasoline but also the depreciation of the car, the price will rise to about PLN 10.
However, this is still almost 10 times cheaper than trying to get to (or back from) the city by any form of Uber. Why? We only have to cover the cost of the car, and we don't have to pay for the driver's time, because he is, after all, "on his way" to the same place.
The cost is still almost the same - or less - than trying to get, for example, from Podkowa Leśna to Żoliborz using WKD (PLN 8.00) and the subway (PLN 3.40); what's more, taking this route by car with a neighbour can be faster and more convenient. It turns out that despite recent increases in gasoline prices, the cost of travelling by car, provided several people are going, can still be cheaper than public transportation. Who would have expected that?
Counting further, we will come to the conclusion that a driver who will systematically take 2-3 people each can finance himself in this way the entire cost of fuel and maybe even part of the other costs of owning a car: 20 days x 2 trips x 2 people x PLN 10 gives a total of PLN 800. On the other hand, the cost of such forty trips of 25 km each is the gasoline needed to cover 1,000 km in urban conditions, or, say, 10 hundred km x 8 liters x 8 zloty = 640 zloty. So the fuel costs have been recouped and we still put aside PLN 160 per month for OC, maintenance and repairs. I guess that's not a bad result of commuting microeconomics?
Our neighbours as passengers have also saved because if they travelled this route so far in their own car, the “chip in” gasoline costs will be only 30-50% of the cost of travelling alone in their own car. Again, seemingly pennies, but on a monthly or annual basis, it is already noticeable money.
Besides, the satisfaction of saving the environment by having another car - an oxygen devourer and CO2 producer - left in the garage is priceless. A well-known brand of three-wheeled luggage bicycles, with which you can bring large purchases or take small children to school, comes to mind - it has a very nice name: „O jeden samochód mniej” (spelled together and .pl at the end) meaning "One less car" .
Speaking of children: the system provides special accounts for them, managed by their parents so that they can enjoy rides with people who, for their parents, have the status of close friends, i.e. are considered trusted.
We all know how much time it consumes to drive our kids to school or various activities every day. And yet you could easily share this duty with your friends so that you take on the role of a school bus driver once or twice a week rather than five or six. The same goes for weekend commutes to the stables, pool or tennis courts. First of all, a bicycle. And if you can't do it anymore and must have a car, let it be "micro-collective" transportation. After all, traffic jams have been forming lately even in small towns, where, with a little goodwill, a bicycle would suffice. Thanks to people being used to convenience and their car, even a trip to the store less than a kilometre away generates traffic jams on weekends in garden cities such as Podkowa Leśna, Brwinów, Milanówek and many others. It's time to do something about it.
I was once driving during rush hour, in downtown Warsaw, with a Dutch friend. Seeing that only one person was riding in most of the cars, the Nederlander commented that we must be a very rich country.
I wonder if it will be possible to convince at least some Poles to give up the intimacy and comfort of being alone in the space of their own car and replace it with the pleasure of getting to know and converse with their neighbours? Maybe neighbourhood integration and a clean environment are worth it?