Is carpooling profitable

Two giants rule the market

2. Background: From diversity to quasi-monopoly for long-distance buses and car-sharing

Traveling by long-distance bus or carpooling is a cheap alternative to the - unfortunately often - more expensive train journeys or flying (which is particularly harmful to the climate) when it comes to short or medium-haul journeys.

Both the range of long-distance bus providers and carpooling started with a certain variety, but in recent years it has increasingly developed into a quasi-monopoly of two providers: BlaBlaCar and FlixMobility (FlixBus and FlixTrain). Before we show you which providers still exist, it is worth taking a look at the development over the past few years.

The never-ending comings and goings of the ridesharing platforms

"The hitchhiker tradition of small budgets and the free culture needs to be cultivated if you don't want to lose your customers." This is how the Tagesspiegel summarized the developments in the market for online car sharing agencies. The reason in 2016 was the introduction of the online payment system and the reservation fee from BlaBlaCar, the current market leader in the 2.0 thumb rests business.

In 2018, BlaBlaCar changed its system again. On the one hand, it is now possible to pay the driver in cash again, after BlaBlaCar had actually stopped this in 2016. In addition, BlaBlaCar now has the so-called Usage packages introduced.

There are two different versions of these usage packages, either you pay € 3.99 for a week or € 5.99 for a month (subscription). Those who rarely look for a lift pay more; everyone else less.

Before BlaBlaCar had in March 2013 Mitfahrgelportun.deDriver fees introduced. The effect: an exodus in droves to free alternatives.

Not long after the introduction of fees in 2013, Mitfahrgelportun.de was first "overtaken" by the then uncomplicated and free service from BlaBlaCar - and finally taken over by the French group in 2015.

Mitfahrgelglichkeit.de, on the other hand, was free for over a decade and thus had Mitfahrzentrale.de gouged out which it already in 2003 with fees had tried - and were replaced after the failure of Mitfahrgelglichkeit.de.

Apparently, this story does not repeat itself, although free providers - e.g. BesserMitfahren and Fahrgemeinschaft.de - are available as alternatives. The fact that it is not that easy on the German market is shown by the fact that blablacar had to significantly change its originally intended payment system,

Since BlaBlaCar, in contrast to its predecessors, which failed with payment models, is active throughout Europe and has far more financial reserves, it can endure significantly more.

The battle of the giants? FlixCar could challenge BlaBlaCar - for free

With FlixMobility, however, another major player is now entering the carpooling business. Like t3n