Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Smartphone App!! Pt.2

Well what the heck, who cares if somebody else is doing something vaguely similar! Maybe they are and maybe they arent'! I provide my idea as a service, just in case they screwed it up. Because here's how it should work:

A. Car owners with GPS sign up to the program. They're the Drivers.
B. Pedestrians install the app on their phone. They're the Riders.

Drivers program their destination in and will be alerted of potential Riders en route. They can then offer a ride if they wish (realistically, some days you might just not be in the mood). Riders will see which Drivers are going their way *and* offering a Ride. Easy! Wait - "ride" doesn't need to be capitalized, there. Just Riders and Drivers. No need to get too technical!

Riders, just punch in your particulars: location, destination, and how you propose to pay ("gas, grass or ass" or perhaps some other fun "hitchy" jargon!). Those would be the public details, visible to any Drivers coming your way. You'd also plug in some private details like what you're wearing so you can be spotted for the pickup - this info would only be shared with the Driver whose offer of a ride you accept. Once you've got that trip-specific info plugged in, you're ready to go! Just hit the "thumb" button!

When the Rider hits the "thumb" button, it puts their ride request out on the virtual roadmap, visible for any available Driver to offer a ride. As approaching Drivers within range ping their willingness to pick up the Rider, the Rider sees what offers there are, and confirms for the Driver whose offer they want to accept! Then they stand by the road to flag 'em down as usual. It's a Social Hitchhiking app!

I guess I could have said that part earlier. "It's a Social Hitchhiking app!" A bit obvious by this point. Anyway. Moving on.

All registered Drivers and Riders would have their nicknames/user IDs to go by, their "public identity" within the subcommunity of this little service. It could be a nickname, not necessarily their real name - but users would have to divulge their true identity on a confidential basis to the service in order to be signed up. Users would then pick a username and create a public profile showing whatever info about their selves they'd wish to put out there, to help people evaluate whether they want to ride with this person. And on top of that, the feedback system! Drivers and Riders would each have stats, including how many rides, plus a star rating based on user feedback - and an anonymous user comments section. Feedback could only be given by those who have ridden with that user.

Since everyone signed up with the service would have to be an actual human being with some verifiable identity on file, and since the system is (confidentially) keeping track of who rides with whom - in theory this could cut down on the murders and rapes! And as you, the user, build up a large number of rides and a good star rating, you'd feel pretty confident in your reputation. You'd feel that people are going to feel good about choosing to ride with you. And that's a good feeling!

Wait. Shit. Hitchhiking's illegal though. Isn't it? Shit.


Why the hell, in this day and age, is hitchhiking illegal?

This makes my whole idea seem stupid.


Mel said...

Interesting dealio here is...

Hitchhiking from a road is an offense in Queensland… Hitchhiking from median strips, traffic islands, painted islands and the road shoulder has been banned. Hitchhiking from one of these areas attracts a fine of $30, consistent with the existing fine for hitchhiking from a road.

New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory discourage hitchhiking but do not expressly forbid it. The Northern Territory Government website, under Australian Traffic Regulations, states that “it is an offence to obstruct traffic if soliciting a ride from within the roadway” – a law which can be interpreted to mean that hitchhiking from the side of a roadway IS legal, so long as you are not blocking traffic.

On this note, it is illegal throughout all of Australia to hitchhike on motorways. Hitching from onramps is generally a safe bet, though if you are in Queensland it is quite possible that you will experience trouble with local police.

I think the conclusion I have come to, barring more authorative information, is hitchhiking is not actually illegal in Australia but it is a traffic offence to stand on or by the road when you try to get/ask for a ride, unless you are standing on the footpath. If there is no footpath, you cannot ask for a ride from the roadside, though if somebody stopped and offered you a lift from the road that you were walking beside that is probably not illegal for them to do, assuming they could stop legally.

So, yeah... Australian Law: Clear As Mud!

limom said...

Aw man, I was interested in what the Rider/Driver rating system was.

dogimo said...

@limom - just your standard five star rating. Like E-Bay, or whatever they use. You want to rate somebody, you give them 1-5 stars, and their rating is the average of what everybody gives 'em.

Nothing fancy!