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The economics "If you go from SF to LA and drive four passengers at $40 a seat" do not compete favorably with a bus ride ($10 on megabus, ~$1 if you find a coupon and book way in advance).

As a driver, I'd be totally up for splitting the gas money with someone, but as a passenger it just seems like a more expensive offering with no increase in benefits for me.

Are European buses or trains more expensive?

Author of the article here. It's a bit more complicated for both the driver and the seller.

Drivers have to coordinate pick up and drop off of passengers, which is a pain, especially in LA. On the other hand, passengers getting dropped off can also be a huge benefit since the bus stop probably isn't your final destination.

In general, Europe is denser (more cities within a closer distance), gas prices are higher, and people are maybe more trusting of strangers.

I'm in the UK. Our trains are expensive, much more than the rest of Europe, but we have Megabus and Greyhound which are pretty well priced. I've researched BlaBlaCar for getting home to my family and it's comparable to a Megabus. Roughly speaking, BBC/Megabus will be £10, Grerhound/National Express (nicer buses) will be £20, and trains will be £60 (or £40 for young people). I've never heard anyone mention BlaBlaCar here.

I've used BlaBlaCar in Germany. They have buses operating in a similar niche as Greyhound/Megabus (cheap but slow). Compared to those, the BlaBlaCar option was maybe slightly more expensive but faster and more comfortable.

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