My first BlaBlaCar
Sachin sets out to answer one of life's big questions... How easy is it to car share? Really.
How I found my trip
It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and I was looking for a ride down to Exeter to visit an old school friend. I'm kind of a last minute person so I logged onto BlaBlaCar the evening before I needed to get to Exeter. Thankfully prices on BlaBlaCar don't increase at the last minute like train prices do.
Cup of tea in hand, I headed onto BlaBlaCar.com and typed in my starting-point of Loughborough and destination, Exeter. This brought up a list of drivers and the times they were driving. I browsed through the drivers' ratings from previous passengers and scrolled through their chat, smoking and pet preferences. Cat hairs and ciggies don't work for me! I found Victor who was travelling from Nottingham to Exeter, his price and departure time fitted my plans. Price per passenger was £16; getting a train at the same time would be £64.70 with a railcard (or £98 without!). One thing was immediately clear, car sharing saves money!
I clicked on "Book this Ride", giving me the option to either call or message Victor. As I was doing things at the last minute, I called. I left a voicemail and he called back within twenty minutes. After chatting on the phone for a bit, we decided that it would be easier for both of us if he picked me up on the outskirts of Loughborough. This meant I didn't need to get the train into Nottingham (£5.20!) and instead could meet him in the petrol station just by Junction 23. It also meant that Victor didn't need to drive into the centre of Nottingham to pick me up. Success! So far, everything had gone very smoothly and it was great to have spoken with my driver before travelling together. Our meeting point and time was clear, I started to feel this could all be very easy.
Victor told me that he was driving a silver Polo and I reciprocated by telling him to look out for the tall lanky Indian. Thanks to my great description we had no problem finding each other and at 6.30pm on Sunday evening I was on my way to Exeter!
Like old friends
To be honest I was a little apprehensive about sitting in a car for four hours with someone I didn't know.. What if he smelt!? But, of course, Victor didn't smell and before long we were chatting about anything and everything. Victor was a very interesting guy and I learnt he worked as a labourer and in various supermarkets before studying further to become an academic. He had completed his PhD in Sociology just 10 days ago. A coincidence that amazed both of us, was that Victor completed a Masters degree at Birmingham University, where I was an undergraduate. After an hour or so Victor and I were chatting like old friends, and much of the trip was spent discussing Cornish cider, as well as our similar views with regards to speed cameras and David Cameron.
My fond farewell
I had a great trip with Dr. Victor and I really enjoyed meeting someone that I wouldn't have met otherwise. As a bonus Dr. V dropped me off right outside my friend's house so I didn't have to walk through Exeter with a heavy bag. I was pretty happy as I waved goodbye! So, if you're travelling to Nottingham or Exeter this year, Victor will be travelling up and I've rated him five stars so you know he's fun to travel with, an interesting person, a great driver and a helpful and reliable BlaBlaCar member. Say hi from Sachin!
Not quite over yet
A couple of days later, Victor left me my first rating on BlaBlaCar (five stars too) which will be useful next time I use BlaBlaCar to connect with a driver.
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