Rock ‘n Roll Carpool

Here’s a thought – maybe musicians could use Craigslist “Rideshare” listings for inter-city travel? Thinking bigger, maybe you could plan a regional tour that way? I’ve never used Craigslist for rides, so I don’t know if it’s sketchy riding with random people. But maybe if musicians en masse started using it, at least they’d be my particular variety of sketchiness.

How about a Facebook group to help musicians get in touch for rides? Or an app that would let you search ride postings by city and date in a social network? Maybe it exists already, I haven’t checked. Or a carpool website equivalent of CouchSurfing.com?

Logistics example: getting from Raleigh NC to Atlanta GA. You’d either need to be the driver or find someone else who’s going all the way, and you could rideshare with folks heading to Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville SC, and maybe even Athens GA.

Practically speaking, if you aren’t driving, you’ll need to be dropped off either at your gig venue, at a public transport hub, or at a friend’s house. Getting home could either be done with another carpool, or via bus or rail.

It could be cheaper than driving yourself, especially if you consider the 51 cents/mile standard mileage rate. Just simple gas costs could be comparable too, though.

The tradeoff would be time. Organizing the rideshare, then adding the pickups and drop-offs to your overall trip time. Plus hygiene and psychological (and, gulp, safety) issues relating to a being in a car full of weirdos.

And of course, I’m also speaking as a solo performer. Bands might have a harder time finding available seats and room for their gear.

Because of the complexity this model adds to the beautiful simplicity of “get in your car, drive to your destination,” I don’t think it’s the answer to all the needs of a traveling musician, but it could be a part of it.

This posting is inspired by Jonathan Byrd’s blog request for new touring models.

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