[dropcap style=”2″ color=”#f50a0a” text=”T”]here are over 22 million cars – and counting – in Egypt and on average only 20% of those have more than a driver at any time on Egyptian streets. Environmental pollution, to which car pollution contributes hugely, is one of top three most problematic issues that is already affecting Egyptian society and economy. Road accidents (caused by traffic jams, unregulated road circulation) are one of the most important factors, accounting for about 12,000 annual deaths.
Carpooling, i.e. sharing a car or a ride from a common starting point or to a common destination, is an ascending trend everywhere in the world – by 2015, the carpooling industry is expected to reach an estimated $40 billion. The Western model of carpooling works as follows: a person who has a space in his/her car and is willing to give a ride signal his/her willingness to do so and the location of departure; and a person needing a ride signals his/her willingness and provides his/her desired destination; then the carpooling system matches the two sides and notifies if/when a match occurs. This model is successful in the West, as trust is not a major milestone – phenomena such as hitchhiking and sharing rides with strangers are usually quite accepted and widely practiced.
In Egyptian – and wider Arab society – the issue of trust is crucial. It is hardly possible or culturally accepted to envision two strangers riding in the same car, especially women. Few previous carpooling initiatives, mostly copycats of the Western model, have proven this point beyond doubt. It is obvious that unless a carpooling solution addresses and solves the matter of trust, it will never be widely accepted in the Egyptian/Arab culture. And this is where KarTag comes into the game.
KarTag is a carpooling application, initially launched on Android phones, that comes as close to solving the matter of trust as possible. It rides on top of existing cultural values and behavioral patterns. Egyptians are very social and love talking and interacting while being in a car. Using KarTag, a user can carpool – or kartag as we call it – with his/her Facebook friends and Facebook friends’ friends. In either case, a user is either carpooling with a real-life friend or has a real-life friend in common with the fellow carpooler. Egypt is also a country of communities and groups, which KarTag leverages by offering its services for national universities (AUC, GUC, Heliopolis University, etc.), science and technology parks (Smart Village) that host many companies as well as big malls and shopping centers (CityStars). Not too digress completely from conventional carpooling approaches, KarTag allows to carpool from and to big populated areas (Mohandesseen, downtown).
KarTag is a reliable, trustworthy and social carpooling service. We believe that everyone should have access to affordable and reliable transport, and that being on the road can still be cheap, green and fun. Notwithstanding to mention that using KarTag helps reduce heavy levels of environmental pollution, traffic and parking problems while encouraging hanging out with old and meeting new friends.