Free car pool just the ticket for travelers
Hundreds of people desperate to get home for the Spring Festival have signed up for an online free car pool service.
Wang Yong, 37, who has been offering free rides to commuters in his Mercedes for the last 14 years, started a campaign called "Let's free car pool home for Spring Festival" on a microblog Tuesday. Yesterday, 200 drivers offered a free ride through the platform, while 500 people expressed the need for a free ride back home.
"We all know that getting a train ticket back home for Chinese New Year has been a pain for years, and it's time to stop complaining and do something about it," said Wang.
The campaign asks drivers who are willing to give free rides to post the time of departure, routes and vehicle information on the campaign page on Sina Weibo, so that those in need can find a driver going their way.
However, before the carpooling partners get in the same car and start the journey, there's a "carpooling ride contract" for both sides to sign.
"I wanted to promote carpooling for more people to escape the nightmare of ticket-buying five years ago actually, but we couldn't cover the potential safety risks and individual responsibilities back then," said Wang.
"As I have 14 years experience offering free rides to tens of thousands of passengers in the city, I know only a legal contract would assure carpooling partners trust each other, while compulsory insurance covers the risks on the roads for both sides," said Wang.
According to Wang, they have secured legal support from a local law firm which has drawn up a free insurance contract, through local firm Sunshine Insurance, who are sponsoring the campaign.
"The agreement and insurance cleared my worries about offering a ride to a stranger, although I'd check out the ID information beforehand. Foreigners are also welcome if they're heading the same way," said Zhou Guojun, a local commercial director who joined the campaign. Zhou can take two people on his way to Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, this Sunday.
Zhou said that after seeing so many friends battling the Spring Festival travel peak, he is keen to help people out.
"I haven't had a reply yet, but I'm looking forward to hearing from someone," he said.
Luo Yi, who needs to go to Xiangtan, Hunan Province, after failing to secure train tickets, is not worried about the safety aspects of the scheme.
"There wasn't any matching route last night, but I have confidence in getting one in the near future," said Luo.
Li Chanyu contributed to this story
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