Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring

Combine Uber With Driverless Cars, and Nine Out of Ten Vehicles Become Obsolete

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The world is covered in unused cars — absolutely blanketed with them. All day, our cars sit useless in driveways and parking garages, sitting idle for far longer than we’re actually driving them. But what if when we got out of our car, it automatically drove off to give someone else a lift, and then kept doing so, day in, day out?

A pair of researchers from the University of Texas have published a report outlining the possible impacts of Shared Automated Vehicles (SAVs). For the study, the team simulated a hypothetical cab service of self-driven cars like the kind Google has already developed. They found that in a dense enough urban area — this example used Austin, Texas — the system would replace about nine out of ten vehicles while “maintaining a reasonable level of service,” as measured by the time people spent waiting for a ride. The test was run entirely on paper, modeled mathematically using Austin’s existing daily traffic data. Read More

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This App Lets You Scalp Your Dinner Reservation

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It used to be that if you wanted to start an underground cronut delivery racket, you’d have to do it through craigslist. But now there’s Shout, an app where you can find not only cronuts at the insane price of $30 a pop, but reservations and tickets for top restaurants and shows in NYC.

Shout is a marketplace for “spots,” which just means any commodity attached to your name: a train ticket, a place on a line, or a dinner reservation. If you’ve put down your credit card for a reservation, or can’t get a refund on a ticket, you’d hop on Shout to see who wants it.

The app was inspired by a hypothetical question the cofounders had on their way to an airport: how much would it cost to convince someone to give up their seat on a plane? Read More

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And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going: Airbnb Talks Up Its Economic Contribution to New York City

Don't worry, this lil owlhouse is safe. (Airbnb)

After notching a victory in the case of host Nigel Warren, locking down the legality of hosting while you’re still on the premises, Airbnb is dealing with another legal challenge from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He wants data on 15,000 local hosts, saying it’s necessary to determine unpaid hotel taxes and root out illegal hotel operators on the platform. The company is fighting the subpoena as, they say, too broad.

In the meantime, public policy head David Hantman convened a presser at General Assembly to tout how much the startup is contributing to the economy of New York City. Between the sternly upbeat tone and the stack of printed pamphlets, it felt like a visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Read More

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Zimride Launches in NYC to Make Riding in Cars with Strangers Less Strange

Riding in cars with bros? (Photo: Zimride)

Traveling in the company of strangers has been around since long before Amtrak or those super cheap (and equally as sketchy) Fung Wah buses. Chances are our ancestors had to deal with the hot breath of a Western-bound fur trapper, who looked like he might be coming down with typhoid, along the Oregon Trail–or give up their seat for a pregnant woman on the overbooked Mayflower.

Earlier this week, a new ride-sharing service called Zimride launched in New York and Philadelphia to make carpooling with strangers a little more friendly. The service, which requires you to log in using Facebook, lets users sell a seat in their car or bus. Drivers can determine the amount they want per seat, which gives them a chance to split the cost of gas. Members can search by time of departure and destination. But the defining feature are user profiles that import limited personal details Facebook, like the kind of music or sports you like, along with a profile pic, to help people find a better road trip or commuter companion. Read More

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Thanks a Lot, Technology: Citi Bike Sharing Delays Blamed on Software Issues

CitiBike hacked.

Hey, remember that Citi-branded public bike-sharing program that was supposed to launch this month? Well, don’t hold your breath. The launch has been delayed until some point in the future. Why is that? We’re afraid the software just does not work.

Maybe Facebook really is sucking the city dry of its supply of engineers.

Capital New York reports that Hizzoner provided a little detail this morning: “The software doesn’t work yet, and we’re not gonna put it in until it does, period,” he said, adding:

“The one thing is, the company that does it had some software problems, changed one of their software vendors, and until they get it right, we’re just not gonna install it.”

Note that he offered no horizon for the program’s eventual advent, which sounds to us like good news for peer-to-peer bike-sharing startup Spinlister, which launched back in April.

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Indie Bike Sharing Service Spinlister Raises $225K with $220K More on the Way

Mr. Dennis (Spinlister)

Spinlister, the mom-and-pop peer-to-peer bike sharing program that launched in April, has closed a $225,000 round, according to cofounder Will Dennis.

We first spotted the fundraising on Form Ds, but Mr. Dennis said the $225,000 actually closed back in March. “The reason we wanted to fundraise is to make sure we had appropriate insurance and legal stuff in place, because we wanted to make sure everyone who was using our service would be protected,” Mr. Dennis told Betabeat by phone. “We’re also looking to hire an iPhone developer as well as another backend engineer.” Read More

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Bike Sharing Service Spinlister Launching in New York April 1st

Mr. Dennis with his beloved bike, The Blue Lady Killer. (

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to go to Paris, you may have noticed that many of the effortlessly posh locals get around town on matching bikes. It’s not some hip bike brand they’re advertising, it’s actually Vélib’, Paris’s public bike sharing program launched by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë in 2007.

Spinlister, a startup founded by New York entrepreneur Will Dennis, takes that idea and turns it on its head. Instead of a large-scale public bike rental system, why not a peer-to-peer bike rental marketplace? Read More