Volt

Our inner-city on-demand ride sharing startup Volt┬árelaunched this week. You can download the iOS or Android app here, and here’s an introductory video trailer.

Volt’s first launch took place in mid-2014 with a list-based interface. Drivers would share the details of the rides that they’re planning, and passengers would do the same for the rides that they want to take. If there was a potential match, Volt would send a message to both sides. Passengers and drivers could also browse through the existing rides and ride demands to discover potential ride companions themselves.

The list-based interface works for rides between cities. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the rides are long enough that they’re generally planned well in advance. The second is that the specific start and ending locations aren’t as important as the cities themselves. Knowing that you’re traveling from Istanbul to Ankara without knowing the specific pick-up and drop-off street names is enough because what matters is getting from one city to the other. Once you’ve done this getting to your specific destination is relatively easy to solve. A list-based textual interface meets the needs of inter-city travel very well.

However, when you’re traveling within a city, the specific start and ending location matter. Sharing this information in a list-based textual interface has limited value because your counterpart is unlikely to know the specific street addresses. In contrast, when the locations are visible on a map, it becomes much easier for passengers and drivers to accept proposed ride matches based on the overlap of their respective journeys. The map-based interface also better meets the unplanned, on-demand nature in which inner-city rides generally take place. Because of its inner-city focus, it made sense for Volt to switch to a map-based interface.

Volt’s relaunch retains its existing trust system built on peer community affiliation and reviews. Together with the new map-based interface, the relaunch also features the introduction of in-app payments and a gamification platform for drivers to earn points which can be converted into rewards. You can earn points simply for driving, although you earn a lot more if you’re also carrying a passenger.

I’m excited about Volt’s new launch and the promise that its ride-sharing platform holds to help solve Istanbul’s traffic problem.