AndIt is the same picture every morning: the motorhomes travel along federal roads 417 on the Platte and 54 on the Iron Hand, as well as the highway 3037 on the Hohe Root from Untertaunus to Wiesbaden and sometimes from there to Frankfurt and Mainz. Coming from the Rheingau, the drivers use the federal highway 42. Nearly 90,000 people travel within the Rheingau-Taunus district or to the surrounding large cities every day. There is usually only one person in the car, sometimes two. The free seats remain unused, fuel prices skyrocket and the streets are full, because in the early afternoon the caravan starts moving again: the commuters return home.
To at least reduce this waste of resources, nerves and time, the Rheingau-Taunus district is now using a digital ride sharing platform called “PENDLA”. It is an online service available on smartphones and tablets as well as on a PC. Anyone wishing to participate can register on the site www.rheingau-taunus.pendla.com Registration. Participation is free for citizens, and they agree commuters individually as travel costs are shared within a pool of cars they have found. After one-time registration, users enter the start, destination and time period.
The comfort and flexibility of a car
In profile, commuters can also indicate if they have their own car, if smoking is allowed inside the vehicle, if it is allowed to bring animals and if they have been vaccinated against the Crown. Optionally, users can also upload their profile picture and write a few lines about yourself so that other commuters can get an idea of who is traveling with them. Once done this, the app searches for suitable races and lists based on the correspondence of travel requests.
If a suitable passenger is displayed, users can write him a message and, there is nothing standing in the middle of a new car. “Under the motto ‘Guide to working with your neighbors’, we rely on carpooling and an efficient way to find suitable passengers for the journey to work,” commented district administrator Frank Kilian (independent) on the use of the app and pointed out that carpooling offers the convenience and flexibility of a car, but is still climate friendly and easy on the wallet.
According to Kilian, with this offer the district is expanding local public transport with an “innovative and municipal mobility offer” that protects the environment and lightens the roads. According to information from the Federal Environment Agency, car pools also move to work more relaxed, are more motivated and have a lower risk of accidents, the district administrator promotes the use of the app. The operator of the PENDLA app is Fastinnds GmbH from Grevenbroich in North Rhine-Westphalia.
One cent per resident per month
The Rheingau-Taunus district is not the first app licensee, as the Ostalb district has been using the offer since January. There are also other cities that have acquired the license. According to Thomas Wieczorek, the costs are one cent per inhabitant per month, so much so that the district of Rheingau-Taunus with its 187,000 inhabitants pays around 22,400 euros per year for the offer. Wieczorek is the head of the road construction department in the district and the initiator of the project.
The district, he confirmed in an interview, is one of the nationwide pioneers in using the app and, to increase acceptance, there are now cities like Taunusstein and Idstein as well. “This is actually something like an app for a ride sharing agency, but as a commuter app the idea is new,” said Wieczorek, who also discussed the matter with the city of Wiesbaden. However, at the moment they are not that far off.
For the project to be successful, it is now important for large numbers of commuters to register, as that increases the chances of carpools actually being found, he continued. “Eltville commuters already knew that other city commuters also travel to Wiesbaden on a regular basis. The app now makes it clear who it is and with whom you could drive together, “the department head pointed out.
The app was only put online on Wednesday, but according to Wieczorek, some pretty potential attendees are already signed up. “I’ve seen on various Facebook groups that people like it,” said Wieczorek and is optimistic that hopefully more people will sit in fewer cars in the morning rush hour in the future.