Have a couple empty seats in your car? Why not fill ’em and make a few bucks while you drive?

Avego LogoIf you live in the Seattle area, there are two new companies trying out ridesharing programs. The first, Avego, is a limited pilot project aiming to get regular commuters using 520 to find passengers for their empty seats.

The second is a region-wide program across Puget Sound. Zebigo is launching a comprehensive rideshare application. At least from the description, it sounds pretty slick. Drivers and riders can set preferences on the website, sign up for optional background checks (to make the whole process safer), and call each other via Zebigo’s phone system (without giving out their personal number) to make arrangements.

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  • Zebigo logoThe costs seem pretty reasonable. With Avego, it’s a $1 per ride to the company, plus $0.20 per mile to the driver. Zebigo is a little more complicated, with $0.49 to the company and a slide mileage scale to the driver—between $0.11 and $0.50 per mile, depending on trip length. Zebigo claims it’s slightly more than transit and cheaper than driving alone. Both utilize the web and smartphone apps to help connect riders and drivers, and payments are handled electronically through the company.

    From a climate perspective, ridesharing is a fantastic solution. Driving alone is one of the most climate-polluting ways to get around; each passenger you add makes a big difference.

    Not to mention the sheer economic allure of the whole deal. If you’re driving already, why not try to split the cost among a few other folks. After all, we have to work a lot to pay for our cars.