Wunder, the European carpooling app for daily trips to work, last month we launched in Manila and immediate comparisons were drawn to the popular ride-sharing apps. In reality Wunder is a new generation of inner-city travel apps that does not depend on paying a taxi or private driver. “After downloading and opening the Wunder app it immediately becomes clear that we look more like a social network” says Wunder COO Sam Baker. Wunder takes the age-old practices of sharing rides to drive to work with friends, family and your neighbors sharing the cost of gas and streamlines communication and coordination of carpools through a simple app.
Metro Manila is an ideal location for transportation innovation: there are 2.7 million households and 1.3 million private cars and 97% of people are on Facebook, many of whom are traveling similar routes as their social networks every day. Meanwhile, gas is relatively expensive.
Increasing the average number of people traveling in a car even slightly from 1.6 to 2 could have a dramatic impact on lowering traffic across the entire Metro area. Furthermore, these improvements could be achieved without long-term, expensive public projects but through privately funded community initiatives such as Wunder.
Wunder, funded by investors in Silicon Valley and Europe, has a long-term vision to build a global carpooling community. The key feature of carpooling is that the drivers do not earn a profit because they are already driving to work and simply sharing empty seats in their cars. As a consequence, standard insurance policies are enough to cover both drivers and passengers.
Wunder’s launch in Metro Manila comes at a time when the government has been heavily promoting the benefits of carpooling through various initiatives such as releasing the app “Friend Trip”, which allows friends to carpool, as well as restricting cars in certain parts of the city on certain days of the week based on their license plates.
We’ve launched Wunder in a number of countries in Europe. Here in Europe as well as in Metro Manila the goal of Wunder is to limit the number of cars on the road, and not to create a professional, for-profit transportation service. Instead, Wunder is a more streamlined version of a group of friends arranging rides to work with each other on Facebook.
Initially costs will be shared among Wunder members with cash only and Wunder does not charge any commission in launch markets. When a market reaches maturity in approximately 12-18 months we plan to introduce electronic payments as well as a fee for passengers and drivers.