While KMM’s history with ridesharing goes back 25 years, ridesharing can be traced to the early 20th century. The Model T lured commuters off streetcars and into private vehicles. The start of WWI and the 1914 recession inspired entrepreneurs to offset the costs of car ownership by picking up streetcar passengers and transporting them to their destinations for a “jitney,” the 5-cent cost of a streetcar fare. During WWII, early attempts to promote “car clubbing” were largely ignored, in part because, the general public didn’t understand the need to conserve fuel.
This changed when the United States entered the war. “They Do It, So Can We” was one of many patriotic appeals appearing on posters and ads. The gas shortages of the 1970s encouraged a 55 mph speed limit and high occupancy vehicle lanes. Additionally, funding initiatives to promote ridesharing were introduced and for the first time, ridesharing was linked to improved air quality.
Today carpooling has evolved into apps, online programs, point systems and sometimes even “slugging”. Our reasons for carpooling range from saving money, convenience and creating a more sustainable community. But regardless of how we carpool or why we carpool, carpooling – we think – is here to stay.