How to: Use Bla Bla Car
So you’ve heard people talking about Bla Bla Car, but aren’t exactly sure what it is? Don’t worry―I’ve got you covered! Bla Bla Car is a ride-share platform meaning that the concept is somewhat similar to Uber or Lyft, only that it’s focused on longer city-to-city travel rather than short trips that you would otherwise take a taxi for.
The concept of a website to connect drivers to people who were looking to make the same trip got started in France in 2009 and quickly became an international success. I mean, it makes sense, right? SO many people travel between different places on a daily, weekly, or at least occasional basis and they’re likely to do that alone. However, there are plenty of other people who would be happy to save a little money off of the bus/train prices, save time in the commute, and set-up more convenient pick-up and drop-off locations.
What’s more, is that it’s yet another opportunity to meet people and practice your Spanish! And you can rest assured that it’s safe too. I definitely recommend you give it a try. But before you do, be sure to read up a bit on how to use this service in order to have a positive experience:
1.) Fill out your profile: Bla Bla Car requires you to provide your basic details like your name, age, and contact information in addition to a short biography and 'preferences.' The preference section is excellent as it allows you to compare with potential drivers and get an idea of their opinions when it comes to music, chatting, smoking, and pets in the car. And, of course, the mini-bio section can help potential drivers decide if you’re kind of person they’d enjoy sharing a ride with, too.
Pro-Tip: I personally recommend putting your profile in Spanish―if you are comfortable communicating in that language! If you’re not yet at that point, don’t worry! I’ve met plenty of drivers and ride-sharers who speak English as well. You’re unlikely to have a problem there.
2.) Search for a trip: Just like on any other transportation website, reservations are quite simple―you just input the origin and destination along with the date you wish to travel and all of the options pop up! You can also filter by time of day or price from there.
Pro-Tip: Clicking on any individual option will give you the details of exactly where the driver can stop/drop off and clicking on the driver’s photo from there will redirect you to their profile and past rider’s opinions.
3.) Choose a trip: Depending on your schedule, you may have dozens of drivers to choose from on a given day. When I’ve got a lot of options, I take into account a number of factors, which I’ve shared with you in this other post.
4.) Book your trip: It is necessary for you to pay for the trip in-advance through the web page, meaning that you will need to give a form a payment in order to send a reservation request. (This is reimbursed if your request is denied.) Credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Paying through the website means that Bla Bla Car has a record of who you are traveling with, in case anything goes wrong. Additionally, every driver and rider on a trip reserved through the website is covered by AXA car insurance so that, no matter what, a form of transport is provided to get you to your destination.
And that’s it! You’re all set to embark on your Bla Bla Car experience. Of course, we can go into plenty more details (and you can find some more about choosing the best option here) but for now, you’ve got the basics to help you navigate the way. Be sure to let me know how your first trip goes in the comments!