Carpooling has long been looked at as a potential way to reduce congestion and help the environment. One clear barrier to carpooling is finding someone who shares your route from home to work. Technology has the potential to help solve this problem, and in recent years a variety of carpooling apps have been released. Scoop is an app that tries to increase carpooling by connecting riders with drivers. Businesses can sign up for Scoop; the app will prioritize matching coworkers for the most efficient commutes.
Scoop has recently partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in the San Francisco Bay Area to integrate carpool service with BART park-and-rides.
How it Works
Unlike ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber, Scoop is aimed at filling empty seats on existing commutes. The night before going to work, a user tells the app that they are looking to either drive or ride and what time they plan on leaving. They’re then automatically matched with someone on a similar route. The rider pays the driver a distance-based fee for the ride through the app. In the early afternoon the process repeats for evening commutes. In order to deal with the uncertainty of rides that are only scheduled one-way, Scoop includes a featured called Guaranteed Ride Home. If a rider cannot be matched with a driver for their return trip, Scoop will reimburse them up to $40 to take public transportation or a taxi home.
Carpool to BART
Many people utilize park-and-ride at BART stations, and as a result parking lots fill up quickly. To manage parking demand, in January 2017 BART began a pilot program with MTC and Scoop to encourage carpooling. Under the pilot, riders who use Scoop are guaranteed a parking spot before 10 a.m. at BART’s Dublin/Pleasanton Station. The process is the same as using the Scoop app for any other trip, with users setting their work location as 5801 Owens Drive, Pleasanton. Drivers will receive a placard to place in their car, and Scoop will work with BART police on a daily basis to ensure that all vehicles parked in the program spaces actually were used for a carpool. As with all Scoop service, passengers are guaranteed a ride home from the station in the evening. In the early stages of the pilot carpoolers will receive free parking at the station, though the pricing structure may change as the program moves forward.
The partnership is funded by a $358,000 Mobility on Demand Sandbox grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The grant allowed for increased integration between Scoop and BART; the app can be used to pay for BART parking and rides are coordinated with train schedules. Drivers can also mark their vehicle as wheelchair accessible to make the program open to as many people as possible.