Penshurst driver creates carpooling app to beat the daily commute

Driving force: Peter Ruz is launching the Carpool Club app to connect passengers and drivers in real time to share the daily commute. Picture: John Veage
Driving force: Peter Ruz is launching the Carpool Club app to connect passengers and drivers in real time to share the daily commute. Picture: John Veage

Fed-up with the hour-plus daily commute from Penshurst to North Ryde, Peter Ruz has decided to take matters into his own hands.

He has created the first carpooling app that uses geo-positioning technology to connect drivers and passengers in real time.

Using the Carpool Club app, passengers can purchase and exchange tokens with a driver travelling in the same direction.

“I live in Penshurst and work in North Ryde, commuting can take an hour in peak-hour, sometimes an hour-and-a-half if there had been an accident,” Peter said.

“Getting to work stressed is not a great way to start the day.

“What is really frustrating is looking around in the peak traffic and seeing so many cars with only one person.

“So I decided to get together with a developer and develop two carpooling apps - a passenger app and a driver’s app.

“Using the app, each user puts in their intended trip at the time they want to travel.

“When they are ready to leave they put in the trip and it will match a passenger to drivers who are going in the same direction in real time.

“As a passenger going from Penshurst to North Ryde, you put in the pick-up destination and drop-off destination and the app will tell you how many tokens are required based on the distance of the trip.

“Up to 7 ½ km will require two tokens at $1.10 each and every 7 ½ km after that, or part thereof, will require one token. The app will tell a passenger how many tokens they will require for the trip before the book.

“They then purchase the tokens using the app or use tokens they have purchased previously.

“When the trip is completed these tokens can be transferred from the passenger to the driver. The driver can use the tokens to become a passenger on a future trip or they can cash them in.

“When a passenger buys tokens they will cost $1.10 each and when the driver cashes them in they get 90 cents. 10 cents goes to GST and the other 10 cents goes to the Carpool Club for running the site and for admin costs.”

Peter said a trip from Caringbah to Sans Souci is two tokens or $2.20.

From Kogarah to the city is four tokens or $4.40. From Cronulla to the city is six tokens or $6.60.

Peter is now looking for 1000 drivers to take the plunge and sign up for the Carpool Club.

“We are taking registrations for drivers at the moment. They can download the app and sign up.

“Once we have a thousand drivers sign up we will launch the passenger app and start the program,” Peter said.

“The Driver app is available for download from the Apple App store or Googleplay for Android devices.

“For passengers the cost of the Carpool app trip will be comparable to public transport,” he said.

“For drivers they don’t make much money - it’s not comparable to Uber where you can do it for a job but it provides cash which can offset fuel and toll costs.

“The ultimate goal of the Carpool Club is to improve the numbers of people in cars so we can take cars off the road and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

“My personal experience commuting everyday to North Ryde showed me just how wasteful it is to have so many cars with only one person.

“If an airline or hotel operated on 25 per cent capacity they would go broke, yest so many cars have only one person.

“The Carpool Club app will give drivers an option of leaving their cars at home and being a passenger, which helps take cars off the road and reduces Sydney traffic congestion.

“It just gives commuters more options of how to get to work.”