Traveling the world is a goal shared by millions of people, but making it happen without breaking the bank is a big hurdle to jump. With BlaBlaCar, you can turn your ride from city to city into an affordable adventure, while making friends or enjoying a quiet ride along the way.
While most carpool and rideshare apps are designed to connect you to riders or drivers headed to local destinations, BlaBlaCar is focused on making long-distance trips more accessible. Today, the European company is a global leader in transportation, helping over 70 million members cut down on travel costs.
This complete guide will give you a closer look at BlaBlaCar, how it works, and how you can start taking advantage of the platform to make your dream road trips come true.
- What Is BlaBlaCar?
- How Does BlaBlaCar Work?
- BlaBlaCar Pricing and Earnings
- Signing Up for BlaBlaCar
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is BlaBlaCar?
Founded in France in 2006, several years ahead of the ridesharing boom, BlaBlaCar is a long-distance carpooling app that connects traveling car owners and people looking for rides in the same direction. The company was created by current CEO Frédéric Mazzella — alongside co-founders Nicolas Brusson and Francis Nappez — after he noticed the amount of empty seats in the cars around him during a long car ride.
Today, BlaBlaCar eliminates the need for riders to rely on time-consuming or costly modes of travel just to get a few hours away. For drivers, this platform is a chance to alleviate the cost of gas while you get to your destination — no matter how far it is.
The BlaBlaCar platform is currently available in 22 European and Latin American countries, including:
- United Kingdom
How Does BlaBlaCar Work?
The way BlaBlaCar works is simple. As a rider, all you need to do is find your desired ride, and pay your driver in cash at the end of the ride. As a driver, you can start getting bookings just by posting your trip, vehicle information, and price per rider. Before you ride, drivers and riders will be able to coordinate more about pick-up and drop-off locations and times.
Users can also get to know each other a little before a ride takes place. In addition to using chat features, you can view each other’s profiles, which display ratings, preferences, a mini bio, and more. Users can even select their preferred level of conversation, between “Bla” (fairly quiet) and “BlaBlaBla” (talkative).
Safety is also a top priority on BlaBlaCar rides. The carpooling service displays which users have provided verified, government-issued IDs and which users you have mutual Facebook and LinkedIn connections with.
You’ll also see the user’s experience level, which indicates if a user has completed their email and phone verification, the percentage of positive ratings they’ve received, and how long they’ve been a trusted member of the platform. The company monitors ride listings and communication on the mobile app as a commitment to safety.
If you’re a woman traveler, you even have the option to use BlaBlaCar’s unique “Ladies Only” feature to ensure you only get matched with other women for your trips.
BlaBlaCar Pricing and Earnings
Drivers do not earn a profit by using the BlaBlaCar app. This is because riders on the platform simply contribute their share of estimated gas prices for a given trip. The carpooling platform will typically help the driver determine a fair price per passenger (so you’re never overcharging or undercharging), and potential passengers will see the price before they book.
It’s hard to say exactly how much you can expect to pay as a rider or save as a driver, but you’ll definitely get a far cheaper ride than if you were to go solo.
As part of BlaBlaCar’s business model, riders are charged a 10-12% transaction fee with every ride. However, given the amount you’re likely saving, it’s worth the small expense, which typically won’t be more than 10 euros.
Signing Up for BlaBlaCar
The main requirement to join the BlaBlaCar platform is to be at least 18 years old. If you’re signing up as a car owner, you and your vehicle must be covered by car insurance, as well.
As long as you’re eligible, you can proceed with the company’s user-friendly sign-up process. You can sign up through the BlaBlaCar app on iPhone or Android, or follow these steps to complete your registration on your computer:
1. Head to BlaBlaCar.com.
2. Select your country and tap “Confirm.”
3. Tap “Sign Up” in the top right corner.
4. Tap “Continue with Facebook” to sign up with your Facebook account, or select “Sign up with my email.”
5. Follow the prompts to provide any requested personal information. This will likely just include your name (for email sign-ups), birthday, and gender.
Once you’ve completed these steps, we recommend filling in the rest of your profile as the next step. This will involve adding a bio, uploading a profile picture (a headshot is preferred), verifying your ID, and more. A complete profile can help drivers get matched with more riders and can help riders get approved by more drivers, as you’ll appear far more trustworthy to your fellow users.
As soon as your profile is complete, feel free to start exploring your trip options, or get straight to listing or requesting a ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Joining the BlaBlaCar carpooling platform is a great way to travel long distances while cutting down costs. To learn more about how the platform can help you out, read these frequently asked questions:
1. Will BlaBlaCar be coming to the United States or Canada?
While there has been some demand in the United States and Canada for BlaBlaCar, the company has no plans to enter either North American market at this time. Long-distance ride-matching has actually been tested by a handful of startups in the U.S. — and was the original concept of Zimride‘s carpool app — but has never truly taken off like it did in Europe.
2. Can I travel within the same city with BlaBlaCar?
Absolutely. BlaBlaCar actually launched a sister app in 2017 called BlaBlaLines to connect users to short-distance carpool trips. It’s similar to current carpool apps like Waze Carpool in the U.S. Though the service only operates in France at the moment, it is available on both the App Store and Google Play store as an affordable alternative to Uber.
BlaBlaLines works very similarly to BlaBlaCar, allowing you to get matched with car owners or riders, only it’s dedicated to helping you get around your own city instead of leave it.
3. Can I use BlaBlaCar just to facilitate carpools with my friends and family members?
You can definitely use BlaBlaCar to facilitate carpools with people you know. Just make sure the driver opts for manual approval, which ensures random car riders don’t take up any seats that are meant for friends or family members.
However, keep in mind that riders are always charged a transaction fee, so make sure this is alright with your group before committing to BlaBlaCar as a tool for organizing carpools.
4. What is BlaBlaBus?
When downloading the BlaBlaCar app, you may notice that it comes with a feature called “BlaBlaBus.” BlaBlaBus, formerly known as Ouibus is a European bus line that offers extremely cheap rides, starting at 5 euros. It’s comparable to FlixBus, a German discount bus company that’s widely available in the U.S., and allows you to fully manage and track your ride in the BlaBlaCar app.
Cut Costs by Sharing Your Ride
All sorts of apps are out there to help riders and drivers connect, but few are dedicated to helping you travel as far and as wide as BlaBlaCar can take you. Through this carpooling platform, drivers can take advantage of their empty seats, while passengers can get the long-distance rides they need without the hefty cost of airfare or an Uber ride.
Of course, most people aren’t regularly in need of a long-distance ride. For your everyday commute to work or school, you can consider a vanpool and split the cost of gas with a large group, while avoiding major car ownership expenses.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.