I thought I'd start off this section with my very own first time ridesharing.
Disclaimer: I'm the co-founder of Poparide.
It was in Québec in the fall of 2006. I had just moved there from the UK and was doing my Masters degree at Université Laval in Québec city. A few weeks earlier, I had arrived at the airport in Montréal and found out the only to get to Québec city was by bus, which cost $50 each way. Having just arrived, I bit the bullet and spent my precious student dollars.
A few weeks later, I started my course and asked my new Québécois friends what was the best way to get to Montréal. Unanimously, they said ridesharing. I had no idea what ridesharing was or how it worked, so I got a friend to help me out.
Turns out in 2006 Québec had a very popular company called Allo-stop, that helped people organize rides by telephone. They had physical offices in Québec and Montréal and you had to show up to sign up, get verified and buy ride credits.
Off I went to rue St-Jean to sign up to Allo-stop and get my first ride to Montréal. In their office, I got told that they had written down my ride requirements and would call me when a driver would become available. There was no such thing as Uber or Airbnb at the time, so calling sounded like a reasonable option.
A day or two later, I got a voicemail on my student phone in the residential halls (cell phones weren't popular either in Québec in 2006) with the details of the driver and where they would pick me up. And, that was it.
On the day of departure, I took the bus to reach my pickup point, which was a little West of town, and sure thing, my driver arrived on the time we had agreed. There were three of us waiting for the ride and it was a full car. The best part: the ride would cost me $15 and only take 3 hours. Much faster and cheaper than the bus.
At that point, I had only been in Québec for a few weeks and I was still learning the ropes of "Québécois" (I'm originally from France). About half way on the trip, the driver announced he was making a stop, or as he said, "tanker mon char". I had no idea what that meant, until we pulled up to a gas station.
Turns out, "tanker mon char" means to "tank up my car", except neither of those two words have the same meaning in French from France. I joke about it now but at the time it felt like there was so much to learn about the Québec language and culture. In another story, I might tell you about my first "tabarnak".
We ended up smooth sailing to Montréal and getting dropped off at Berri-UQAM only three hours after leaving Québec city. I handed $15 in cash to the driver at the end of the ride, and that was it.
I was hooked; it was one of those moments in life where you just feel you've discovered something special. People sharing a car, getting along, and helping each other out. And, it was cheap! The process was a little archaic at the time, but the concept was neat.
I rideshared a bunch in Québec that year but it wasn't until 2010 that I built HitchWhistler after moving to Vancouver and discovering there were no affordable options to get to Whistler. The rest is history...
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