Like no other job: Individual freedom and community building through the crowdsourcing of mobility
Billy, based in Seattle, was recently laid off from his job. What is a difficult time for anybody, is made worse by the financial pressure and sudden lack of purpose that it leaves behind. As he rotates periods spent in Seattle and Alaska, he found himself in need of something to do before heading back up north. Luckily he came across our StreetCrowd service, matching individuals with carsharing vehicles for repositioning.
“With this job I can still work and I can still bring in money’’, Billy says. “This impacted a huge part of my life, otherwise I would be doing nothing”. For Billy this doesn’t represent a permanent occupation, however, it does give him financial security and a purpose in the short term. Billy’s story is just one of many that make up our StreetCrowd community.
With StreetCrowd, we have developed something novel. StreetCrowd is, at its heart, all about crowdsourcing mobility services. StreetCrowd has been created for carsharing operators so that their vehicles can be repositioned by anybody (with a driving license of course).
By repositioning we mean the moving of a vehicle from an area of low demand (cold zone) to an area of high demand (hot zone). City centres are often hot zones while suburbs are often cold ones, but this can vary at certain times and for specific events. An important football game, for instance, would increase demand outside the stadium directly after the match has finished. For the cars to be in the right place when the users need them, repositioning is required. StreetCrowd crowdsources this to individuals who move the cars from A to B, and they can undertake repositioning whenever and as often as they like.
Unlike ridesharing or delivery services, StreetCrowd is not there to disrupt existing industries, but rather to utilize the crowd in providing new services. The model can also be applied to other operational tasks such as maintenance, cleaning and the charging of electric vehicles, as well as to other vehicle types such as micromobility.
Opportunities all round — flexibility and freedom
The flexible nature of StreetCrowd work makes it a great job for those who want to build their own working schedules. Students, single parents and people like Billy, among others, are able to work on their own time to gain extra income. This flexibility and freedom makes it a genuinely fun job, something that cannot be said for many places of work. For Billy, the flexibility of the job allows him to follow his other passions. Paul, another StreetCrowd user, simply enjoys driving. Without the pressure of having to pick up customers, he can just cruise around the city while moving cars into areas where the demand is higher.
Importantly, it allows people the chance to make money in a way that didn’t exist before. For those unable to fulfill the fixed hours that are a prerequisite for most jobs, this offers great opportunities. In providing something with no upfront costs or that requires working late into the night, it really is possible to work as little or much as you want. And, in allowing the drivers to manage their own schedules, StreetCrowd helps to develop an entrepreneurial spirit amongst the drivers.
Getting out and about
The nature of StreetCrowd work encourages contractors to get out and about. For some users, working with StreetCrowd helps to keep them active and healthy, allowing them to get out into the community, get fresh air and meet new people. This certainly beats being cooped up in an office. Jessica, a Streetcrowd user based in the American Northwest, echoes this, “I’ve been on neighbourhood streets that I probably wouldn’t have walked down before, and you get to see some really cool architecture in the city”. StreetCrowd gives users, therefore, an incentive to explore new places, something that can be incredibly rewarding. In this sense, one of StreetCrowd’s major assets, is that the car movers can decide themselves what kind of job they want to make out of it. Some of our drivers take the work seriously, while for others it is more of a leisure activity.
For some StreetCrowders it is also a way of getting around. In moving a vehicle that is close to home to a new location in the direction one intends to go in, the car mover can essentially be paid to get around. Imagine, for instance, that you live in an area of low demand but you work in the city centre where demand is high. You could combine the repositioning of the vehicle with your commute to work, avoiding the sweaty subway and getting paid to do it at the same time. In this sense StreetCrowd even represents a new mode of transport.
Doing something for the community
One of the things that pleases us the most when we receive feedback from our drivers, is the sense of accomplishment and positive community spirit that StreetCrowd users embrace. This isn’t just because they now have time to devote themselves to other passions. But due to the work itself. Crowd members are proud that by moving cars from A to B, where there is a need for them, they play a vital role in making carsharing successful. Carsharing will only be used by the wider public when it becomes convenient enough for users to find vehicles whenever required. For this reason even moving one vehicle to a place where it is more likely to be used, is a step forward in encouraging sharing over private ownership.
In supporting the success of carsharing, our car movers contribute to making their own cities less congested and to reducing the pollution levels where they live. This is something that is important to StreetCrowd members who are often carshare users as well. In providing fellow carsharers with vehicles for when they need them, there is a sense of satisfaction in supporting others by making their lives more convenient. When we developed StreetCrowd, we didn’t simply seek to create a service that would make carsharing operations more effective, but also to develop something that is positive for the community. By establishing a new form of work defined by its flexibility, we allow users to have fun, get out and about, and serve the community, all while getting paid to do so. Therefore, for people like Billy, StreetCrowd is more than just a job.
To learn how StreetCrowd can improve your operations and increase your fleet utilization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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