We used BlaBlaCar for the first time when we travelled to North Italy and we wanted to visit different cities but it turned out that the tickets for the train were too expensive. Since that moment BlaBlaCar has become one of the ways to lower the cost of travel. We went from Bergamo to Verona, from Verona to Padua and from Padua to Milano paying around 45 euros for both of us 🙂 Just to compare the train from Milano to Verona cost the 20 euros per person and BlaBlaCar 6 euros! It’s probably possible to buy a cheaper train ticket but this is how it was two weeks before our trip.
Since we first used BlaBlaCar in 2014 the website changed a bit.
How was it at the beginning?
BlaBlaCar was created as a community where people offered others a ride in their car when they had empty seats. You had to search for a ride between two cities, contact the driver and ask about empty seats. If the driver answered and he had empty seats you could agree on a place to pick you up and place to drop you off, exchange phone numbers and agree on the price if it wasn’t indicated before. You paid for the journey in cash after you arrived to your destination. It was very comfortable for us because the prices weren’t high and we could simply pay in cash. Apart from that the website didn’t charge with you any extra fee.
How does it look like now?
After some time the website changed. Now to book a ride you have to pay in advance by bank card. The advantage is that we don’t have to contact the driver anymore to ask about empty seats. After paying for the booking everyone can see how many seats in car are already booked. Nevertheless we can’t send a direct message to the driver before we book the seat. We can only ask a question under the journey offer. Payment in advance is related to the fact that now the website charges a fee and that unfortunately increases the cost. It’s not a big amount of money, for example when we book a journey the cost 12 euro we pay more or less 3 euros fee. According to the new system the driver receives the money after the trip when he puts in the system a code that we receive on our email and we pass to the driver after we arrive to our destination. It has also advantages. The driver can’t suddenly change the price, we have our seat booked in advance and the website accepts payments with a Visa card and we don’t need a credit card🙂
What are the general advantages of BlaBlaCar?
1. The price
Even after the changes and the introduction of the extra fee, BlaBlaCar is still cheaper than trains or buses. Of course if we don’t find a discount on the train or bus tickets 😉 We travelled by BlaBlaCar in Italy and France and believe there is a difference in price. In Poland maybe it’s not that visible as the buses and trains here are not as expensive as in West Europe. For example the bus between the airport Beauvais and Paris costs 16 euros per person and by BlaBlaCar you can travel this distance paying 4-8 euros, depends on the offer. Can you see the difference? 🙂
2. Many offers
The website is becoming more and more popular. It has lots of advantages for the passengers and for drivers who finally don’t have to pay the cost of petrol on their own 🙂 Thanks to the popularity of the website there are more and more drivers and ride offers and we have more choice if it comes to the hour and price.
3. Drivers’ rating
I heard many voices against using the website because, as people say, it’s dangerous to go by car with a stranger. You know what? Everything may be dangerous 😉 The portal has drivers’ rating that works very well. We can rate the driver with stars between 1 to 5 and also write our opinion and let others know if travelling with this person is safe.
4. No more ‘cheaper taxis’
Before the changes in the portal many people treated BlaBlaCar as a system of ‘cheaper taxi’. The drivers used to publish a ride with a specific price but during the conversation the price was raising. Soon it usually turned out that the driver wouldn’t go anywhere unless he finds enough people to book all the empty seats… These drivers used to cancel the ride at the last moment. Booking in advanced eliminated this problem. Now the driver has to put the price of the trip before and also accept the passengers who want to book the ride. There is no chance to meet the driver without booking on the website so people don’t offer trips they cancel later.
5. We meet new people
Another advantage of travelling with BlaBlaCar is a chance to meet new people. While travelling to a completely new place we can learn something new about the city 🙂 The driver that took us from Verona to Padua not only dropped us off in front of our airbnb hosts’ house but also recommended us places to visit 🙂 Another time the driver that took us to the airport in Modlin showed us also the Fortress in Modlin and at the end refused to take money from us. That was of course before the changes made on the website. Last time in France we went to the airport with another mixed couple: French and Thai 🙂 They were very nice and they encouraged us to travel to Southeast Asia 🙂
What are the disadvantages? What should you consider before choosing a ride?
1. Consider the price
Although until now BlaBlaCar has been always a cheaper transport we know that it doesn’t have to be like this always. For example in Poland using BlaBlaCar was worthless because I still have student discount for the trains 🙂 Apart from that you should always consider all the offers and choose the one which has suitable price and time. The prices on the same route can vary a lot.
2. Less popular routes
Sometimes it’s possible to get by BlaBlaCar to a place that doesn’t have direct connection by train or by bus. Although there are still many routes we may want to travel that are not popular and we won’t find any ride or we don’t find many and the time won’t be suitable.
How to use BlaBlaCar?
1.You search for the ride according to the departure, destination and date.
2. Compare the prices and choose the suitable time of your trip.
3.Check the exact meeting and drop off point marked by the driver on the map.
4.Book you seat in the car and pay.
5. Write down the phone number of the driver so it’s easier to contact him/her.
6. And have a safe trip! 🙂
I don’t exactly know how that happens but I noticed something curious. When I was looking for rides in France I used the website in Polish and there were only two rides available and none of them was suitable for us. After I changed the language version for French on the same route there were 12 offers! So if you are looking for BlaBlaCar abroad change the language for the one used in the country you travel to 🙂
Who has used BlaBlaCar yet? Share your experience 🙂