Monday, November 05, 2012

Avego ride-share app for iphone review

I was really excited when I found out about the new ridesharing application called Avego.  So I registered on their website, downloaded and installed the application (free) for my iphone, and decided to give it a try.  What follows is my review of this application.

On paper, this application has a lot of potential.  The idea here is that while you run this application as a driver, riders using the same application on their phone can look for rides to their destination and Avego tries to match riders up with drivers.  To help simplify things, drivers are encouraged to map out their routes that they drive each day.  They can even schedule when those routes are driven to make it easier for Avego to match riders with available drivers.

Every successfully completed matched drive earns credits for the driver that can be used on other rides or cashed out.  Avego tracks everything for you.  So, in principle this is pretty amazing.  But it is not without its problems.  And there are a few of them.

Let's start with routes.  It wasn't too difficult to program a route to and from work.  I did this via the web site. My problem is that I don't always take the same route every day.  The only way I could create unique routes between the same start and end point was to give them different names.  That worked fine, but creating some kind of schedule for them within the Avego application was difficult.  Finally, I gave up on scheduling my routes altogether.  This was probably the practical thing to do anyway, because I rarely keep a set schedule driving to work either.  What I didn't realize as I was driving to work on one of my planned routes was that I would never be matched up with a rider unless there were stops set up along my route.  Unfortunately, the app doesn't tell you this. The thing about creating stops as you are driving along, is that you have absolutely no idea what existing stops have already been created by other Avego users.  So for all you know, you could be pulling over and creating stops that aren't even necessary. 

Never mind the fact that riders don't have the opportunity to create their own stops, mindful of the fact that a pedestrian is just as likely to be aware of safe places to pull over.  In fact, the only way that I was able to see the stops along my route was to log into the Avego web site. You cannot create stops along your route if you are moving, so you have to pull over in order to create a stop.  Unfortunately, that didn't always work, as the application often thought that I was still moving even though I had come to a complete stop.  This was extremely annoying.  I can totally understand the requirement for pulling over to create a stop and this isn't something you're going to have to do often, but you guys need to tweak your app so that it can tell that I'm no longer moving.  But it goes deeper than that. As far as routes go, I think that drivers shouldn't really have to plan their routes.  At least in my experience, drivers aren't robots.  What this app should do automatically is just note where you drive.  As you build a history of what roads you travel at a particular time every day, Avego should automatically build your predicted routes for you.  Having to go on a website to plan routes in advance is ridiculous in my opinion.  Unless there's a problem, I shouldn't ever have to go on a web site.  I should be able to do everything inside the application.

The web site tells you that in order to get a better understanding for how Avego Works, you can set up ghost riders, fake riders that you will be prompted to pull over and pick up along your route to witness how the System Works.  The problem is that by default ghost riders are not enabled and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to create them in the first place.  But the biggest problem that I can tell with Avego is that as a driver, I have absolutely no way of knowing where the existing riders are or where they want to go.  I have to depend fully on the application to match riders up with me.  This is extremely inefficient, because there is a good chance that I am missing countless riders who may want to go in the same general direction I'm going, but I will never know because Avego is only likely to match me up with riders within a block or so of my route.  In reality, I would be more than willing to take a minor detour to get a rider to their destination.  This application does not give me the flexibility or even the opportunity to do this.  In fact, Avego could be making it possible for me to just drive around like a rogue taxi looking to pick up nearby riders and take them to their destination to earn credits.  Right now, it doesn't seem that this is possible.  I should be able to scan a list of rider requests listed in order of how far away they are from me.

Another thing that I am starting to notice about driving apps for phones, is that we now have a multitude of applications that are only good at doing one thing.  We have to map apps that are only good for giving directions.  We have ridesharing apps that are only good at matching drivers with riders.  We have crowd sourced traffic applications that are only good at telling you where the traffic tie ups are.  What we really need is a super driving application that can do all of these things.  We need an application that can provide a driver with all the information they need to get to their destination with the least amount of trouble and while lending a hand where needed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may be interested to look into phorego. A flexible, global, free rideshare service from Canada.