Before the internet made global people interaction possible in a few clicks, all forms of travelling and accommodation were either a completely solitary challenge (thinking about old school hitchhiking here), or something to entrust a money hungry travel agency with. Since those times are long gone – or changed at least – we can now enjoy the networking opportunities and benefits offered by companies like airbnb, couchsurfing and blablacar, all experts in cutting the bills if you’re going out of town.
Sure, there’s plenty of companies out there who make corporation-set hotel and transportation prices avoidable (well, let’s say modifiable). However, this hasn’t exactly been the case with long distance delivery, or has it?
A fresh startup from Copenhagen, SocioTransit, is getting its hands dirty in all practical and legal questions revolving around the social transportation of goods. The result so far is a networking platform where package senders/recipients can save some money and travellers can earn a few bucks in a rather exciting new method of package delivery.
The basic procedure is fairly straightforward; As a traveller, you’ll need to register to the website, which currently is free of charge, and then publicly announce your next intended travel destination. Senders/recipients will do exactly the same except the announcement, of course, will be about their package.
Once the matching pair find each other, the website connects them together for open communication through the SocioTransit messaging service. The sender/recipient and the traveller can then discuss and decide on details about the “job”, such as package size, transit timing, pickup-drop details and any charges.
The set fee will be completed through secure online payments options and detailed profiles ensure users to establish a reputation through reviews received after confirmed transactions. Community flagging and building networks of friends and references works similarly to airbnb.
Now I’m aware cynicism is always sort of a partypooper, however on this topic I feel it’s fair play; SocioTransit is basically doing the same thing as modern Pablo Escobar’s are doing when using drug mules for similar “jobs”. Of course, as long as the package is fully legal, the platform offers a really cool way to both send stuff abroad cheaper, and who knows, make new friends in the meanwhile, but solid word of advice for the travellers who are after the small earnings to be made from social package delivery; not everyone out there is a good Samaritan with pure intentions.
Here’s an extract from the safety section of SocioTransit’s website:
“We recommend all users that before carrying out transaction, it’s important that they should try to connect with each other on social media, get acquainted with each other and get contact details of each other. The goods or package which is being carried must be checked by traveller thoroughly and there shall be no mismatch between what is booked on sociotransit website and physical thing or good being sent. In any discrepancy, immediately warn the website and abandon carrying the goods/package!!”
It’s also pretty crucial to understand that the travellers will be fully responsible for whatever they’re delivering.
Cynicism aside, SocioTransit is really offering an awesome way to get stuff moving, and while the risk of rotten apples in the basket exists, as long as you keep your precautions, it’s absolutely worth giving a shot!