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Announcing the Love Bus

 

We are very excited to announce a partnership with Match.com to roll out ‘The Love Bus’ service on all commutes longer than 45 minutes, starting this summer.

 

A Swedish study (bit.ly/1gsiq6N ) shows that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute are 40% likely to divorce. One of the reasons is because time on their commute is time away from each other. In order to combat this trend, RidePal and Match.com are combining forces to offer a meeting platform for singles who share a common commute. As the relationship matures, commuting becomes just one of many shared positive experiences the couple enjoys.

 

 

In addition to their commute preferences, single riders who opt for this paid service can also enter their dating preferences or automatically import their profile information from Match.com. RidePal uses this data to match commuters with other highly compatible riders, as determined by Match.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events held on the bus help people connect socially. If two riders want to get to know each other better, they can book a ‘date on the bus’ – RidePal places both riders next to each other on the next bus run and email a copy of the other person’s profile alongside conversation starters to help break the ice.

 

 

Nat Criou, RidePal co-founder, says ‘RidePal’s mission is to improve the entire commute experience to enhance people’s quality of life. Commuting was clearly getting in the way of happy marriages so this is a natural extension for us.  Match.com’s user base matches ours very well from a proximity standpoint and the opportunity is huge.’

Bloomen Kaufman from Match.com says that they are very pleased with the partnership. ‘We have found that it is tough for people to make the time to meet. Even highly motivated singles with full time jobs and busy lives and a long commute arrive home too late for an evening date. RidePal offers a unique ability to integrate dating in people’s every day routine and the early results from our limited beta seems to indicate that it makes a huge difference. Conversion rates have jumped up 19%. Some of the buses in their network are ‘party buses’ and they can set up a perfect dating scene when riders are ready to book a ‘date run’ – the experience is completely integrated with one’s commute.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver Haigh, an early beta participant, on his evening commute giving a thumbs up after his date is dropped off near her home, 4 blocks away from his.

 

RidePal expects other benefits to flow from this approach, as people move in together; it would make route planning a lot easier. As more and more riders get ‘matched’, they are expected to migrate to the regular services.

The new service is slated to start on June 31st of this year.

Map Your Ride

Great news! Our user research shows that you really like maps and that you’d like to navigate RidePal-land through a map-based system. We listened and we cooked up a couple of dishes you might enjoy.

We take your feedback extremely seriously so we created a special task force to respond to your needs.

We started with in-depth usability studies to better understand how maps are used in the context of commuting.

Actual Map Usability Study

From these tests, we learn that it was very important to display home and work locations.

 

Our Operations Team experimented with various methods to display bus stops,  including utilizing “game theory” to pick the best color scheme.

The final result? Purple won with a 50 Elektro delta and 10 cities.

Actual Footage from Lab Study

 

We reviewed several map technologies to ensure maximum accuracy.

High-Res Map of SF Bay Area

 

And so… we are very happy to introduce the newest version of our Schedule page!

 

Map away!

 

P.S.: In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a screenshot of our old Schedule page. It was created by world-famous Ikea furniture designer Bill E. Goate.

Courtesy: Bill E. Goate, Lead Designer, Shelf Products, IKEA

 

Every day I’m Shuttlin’…

A commuter on one of the Bay area’s corporate buses wrote this post about how he uses this time: reading, listening to music, making new friends, getting a head start on his email… Sounds more fun than sitting behind a steering wheel, and a much better use of time, as he notes:

“The main reason I love the shuttle/commute is that before coming to office every day I have an hour to prepare myself for the day and after leaving office I have an hour to wind down the day. Don’t treat shuttle time as time wasted, but treat it as time that you can use to complete tasks by yourself. These two hours have helped me get great productive work done as well as maintain my work-life balance.”

Well put!

Are you Shuttlin’?

 

Guess who wanted a ride home

A special someone boarded a bus and spread some holiday cheer yesterday! Naughty or nice, fun was had by all :)

Happy holidays, from all of us at Ridepal!

 

Interview with our CEO on Ridepal’s vision

Today, Wade Roush from Xconomy published a great interview with Ridepal’s Nathalie Criou on our company’s vision to provide commuters with greener and more accessible transportation to and from work. In addition to discussing how Ridepal works and how its different from dedicated, private company buses, they also touch on the beneficial effects on the environment and Ridepal’s plans for the future.

“The whole idea behind RidePal is that every single person who has to go to work should have a better alternative than driving alone. This is what we are working toward.” – Nathalie

Read the full article

Introducing the Newest Member of the Growing RidePal Fleet!

We are excited to welcome Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation as a new carrier to the RidePal fleet. Bauer’s IT is a leading provider of sustainable, luxury ground transportation in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles, and we are happy to welcome them to the family. Bauer has been a great innovator in this space and already has a lot of experience with corporate commuting programs. It was an easy choice.
Mark Melville, RidePal’s CTO and Head of Operations notes ‘We are especially thrilled with Bauer’s IT’s focus  on sustainable fuel solutions, their large selection of beautiful buses, and their high standards of performance.’

In expanding RidePal’s network of carriers, the partnership will ensure that RidePal’s fleet is able to support our quickly increasing number of routes. “We’re delighted to partner with RidePal and look forward to working with their team in a long, positive partnership,” adds Bauer’s IT’s COO, Denis Jackson.

 

 

Silicon Valley heading for ‘terminal gridlock’… but you can help

The Bay area is booming, but the transportation infrastructure has not kept up, and “there are simply too many of us driving solo to work”, notes this article in the San Jose Mercury News.

We could soon encounter ”terminal gridlock” like the kind that occurred in Beijing six years ago when commuters were trapped in their cars for days.

If you take a RidePal service to work, you can catch up on email, read a magazine, grab a nap… and arrive at work relaxed and ready for the day. You will also help others, as just one RidePal bus can take over 40 cars off the roads. Pass the word – we all win if people leave their cars at home, and commuting with RidePal is a great way to do so.

This month’s portrait – Thibaud

Thibaud is RidePal’s original front-end engineer. He is responsible for all of our web interfaces including internal tools developed for customer support. In his words, he likes “making the website better for users and helping people have the best experience possible.”

He graduated with a bachelor in math and physics from the University of Technology of Belfort (France) and a master in computer science from SUPINFO International University. (When you’re calculating tip on those large bar tabs, Thibaud’s your man.)

Thibaud was introduced to RidePal through the French Connection, and his easy-going, user-focused approach, straight talk, and openness paired with his web development skills made hiring him an easy choice.

We hypothesize that he outsources home chores to his dog Thomas as whenever the poor creature makes it to the office, he needs the entire day to recover.

His favorite mode of transportation is his longboard (ˈlôNG ˌbôrd, noun  type of long skateboard). In fact, his sole criterium for a good time seems to be that it include a board of some kind; he also surfs, kitesurfs, and snowboards.

 

Major Achievement at RidePal: President Award in 2012!

Every year, RidePal recognizes the employee or team that went out of their way to make the biggest difference. We go out of our way to say thank you. We had a branded surfboard custom-made for him by Mark’s brother.

Trivia: his hometown is Souffelweyersheim. Achoo!

 

 

 

RidePal Launches Shared Commute-Bus Services to Fremont, San Mateo, Mountain View and Menlo Park, Adding 3 More Routes to Their Growing Network

RidePal Inc. announced today they have started three new direct, commute-bus services serving commuters from the east Bay, San Francisco and the peninsula.

Employees of any company can now enjoy a direct ride to work on luxury, wifi-enabled buses. Their company can choose to subsidize rides at any level from 0% to 100%, while employees can use dollars from pretax spending programs to pay for their rides.

RidePal’s unique shared model means any company can extend their recruiting range, reduce employee turnover, increase employee productivity – and reduce their parking and carbon footprints. Since riders from several companies share the same bus, any one company does not have to support the entire cost: each company or rider pays only their share of the costs incurred.

Nathalie Criou, CEO of RidePal, said: “We are delighted to add these new destinations to our network. Many commuters to these cities don’t have a viable public-transit option, so are forced to take their cars. Now they have a relaxing, productive alternative to a stressful drive to work”.

These new daily services were driven by demand from RidePal’s corporate customers and their employees, and provide the following options:

Oakland to Mountain View
Oakland to Menlo Park
Fremont to Mountain View
Fremont to Menlo Park
San Francisco to San Mateo
San Francisco to Fremont
San Mateo to Fremont
Tri-Valley area to Mountain View
Tri-Valley area to Menlo Park

RidePal will be further expanding its network of services over the coming months.

Meet the Team: Forrest

As we continue to grow our team, we thought it would be fun to begin introducing the folks involved in keeping those RidePal buses running on time. First up in our “Meet the Team” series…

Forrest Hanson, Chief of Staff

Forrest juggles a lot of things at RidePal, handling everything from investor relations, internal operations, and the development of internal processes for our accounting, bookkeeping, HR, and facilities functions. Incredibly resourceful and a fantastic communicator, he also enjoys and excels at finding elegant solutions to complex problems. He also makes a mean Sex on the  Beach Bus.

We first crossed paths with Forrest while he was an associate at Greenstart — an early RidePal investor — recruiting and doing due diligence on potential investments. He recently moved to SF from Brooklyn, where he worked for a travel magazine, in search of a job “in sustainability”. (He’d previously co-managed the Big Green Bus, so joining RidePal brought things full circle in the truest sense of the word.)

Forrest is a Denver native and Dartmouth College alum, having graduated with an AB in History. A career in transforming transportation was a clear natural path. He still hasn’t decided which he likes more — cooking or eating — although he’ll argue to the death that turducken is the perfect main course, much to the dismay of our French co-founder. He is also an avid runner, surfer, and concert-goer, and his favorite mode of transportation is his commuter bike, Carlotta.

His proudest RidePal moment to-date was the production and release of our first instructional video which he starred in.

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