Ride-sharing is both budget-friendly and sustainable and you might get a nice chat and learn about local gems along the way. Join us when we share a ride from Gothenburg to the Nordic Watercolour Museum.
A black SAAB pulls up outside the bus terminal in Gothenburg and Sofia Olofsson waves from the driver’s seat. This is the first time we meet, but today we share a ride to Skärhamn through the new ride-sharing platform We Are Together. It was initiated by the Nordic Watercolour Museum, in collaboration with Region Västra Götaland, and the idea is to make it easier to share a ride to 14 different nature and culture sights in West Sweden.
–You might love the watercolour painter Lars Lerin just to find out that the other person in the car does too. It’s a fun way to meet people with the same interests, says Sofia Olofsson. Besides being my driver for the morning, she is communications officer at the Nordic Watercolour Museum and project manager for We Are Together.
The ride-sharing project launched in spring 2016, but started on a small scale at the museum back in 2014. The idea came from the beautiful, but somewhat hard to get at, location in Skärhamn on the island Tjörn, 70 kilometres north of Gothenburg.
–We wanted to make it easier for people to come visit us. This is a great complementary to the tourism industry and public transport, she says.
Gothenburg Concert Hall, Nordens Ark and Viltlycke Museum are some of the other collaborators in We Are Together. The network hopes to use the platform beyond transportation and help inspire people to see more of West Sweden.
Meet new people
Ride-sharing goes beyond merely getting from A to B and adds a social dimension to your journey. While this is just what some people appreciate, others might hesitate before facing an hour of small talk.
–It’s nice to keep it on a level where you feel that it’s alright to share a ride without having to make conversation. That can be a bonus. We have joked that people might actually meet the love of their lives or a best friend. How often do you really sit down and chat with new people? It’s very rewarding, says Sofia Olofsson.
We drive across the island Tjörn along route 169 and she tells me the coolest part will be hearing about unexpected meetings, like someone finding a new companion for regular visits to the museum.
Sofia Olofsson thinks ride-sharing will become more popular, but it might take a few years.
–We might have been following Skjutsgruppen and ride-sharing for a long time, but I think this is just the start, she says and adds it would be a dream to take the concept to sea.
–Why limit it to cars? We live in a coastal region where the water is important and many people are sailing or own a boat. There might be two people in a boat, so why not pick up two more at the Opera in Gothenburg and go to the Nordic Watercolour Museum?
A ride-sharing holiday
Robin Olsson runs the bike café Llama Lloyd in Kvillebäcken, Gothenburg, and is an experienced ride-sharer. He recently headed out in Europe with a foldable Brompton bike and shared rides as main modes of transportation.
How did you get the idea to go ride-sharing on holiday?
–I have had the idea for a long time. I’ve just been waiting for ride-sharing to become big enough to work as the primary mode of transportation. It has happened over the last few years, at least out in Europe.
What did your plan look like?
–I had a return ticket from Lisboa to the Azores, so I had two and a half week to get to Portugal. I also wanted to visit a few friends along the way, but other than that it was pretty much open..
But you biked too?
–Yes, in cities. I think that’s the best way to get around and explore places. If you are sightseeing you can do four or five things instead of two.
What’s the best part of ride-sharing?
–It’s nicer and you meet a lot of fun people!
–It takes a lot of time to find people to travel with. It’s the same thing with couchsurfing. It takes time. That’s what you buy, by not doing it, that’s how I see it. I generally always couchsurf and try to share rides as much as I can, but sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to take that time out of the holiday. Sometimes it’s nice to just ride a train and get some alone time.
How does it work?
Private persons find and offer rides through online platforms, social media and ride-sharing groups. The cost of petrol is often shared and the idea is not for the driver to earn money, which makes it different from services like Uber.
The ride-sharing movement Skjutsgruppen has over 60,000 members.
www.skjutsgruppen.nu (only in Swedish)
Ride-sharing and private car rental. The Danish platform launched in Sweden in 2014.
5 things to keep in mind
1. Be flexible with departure dates and destination.
2. Have an open mind and have fun…
3. … but trust your gut feeling. Never share a ride if it feels uncomfortable.
4. Carrying a lot of luggage or large items? Make sure to ask how much space there is?
5. Share the cost of petrol.