In Egypt and the wider Arab society, trust is a central issue. Two strangers—particularly women—riding in the same car is difficult to imagine, let alone culturally accepted. Previous carpooling initiatives, mostly copycats of the Western model, have only further demonstrated this challenge. Unless a carpooling solution addresses and solves the matter of trust, it will never be widely accepted in the Egyptian/Arab culture. And this is where KarTag comes into play.
KarTag is a carpooling application that comes as close to solving the matter of trust as possible, by riding on top of existing cultural values and behavioral patterns. Egyptians are very social and love talking and interacting while being in a car. Using KarTag, a user can carpool – or kartag as we call it – with his/her Facebook friends and Facebook friends’ friends. In either case, a user is either carpooling with a real-life friend or has a real-life friend in common with the fellow carpooler. Egypt is also a country of communities and groups, which KarTag leverages by offering its services for national universities (AUC, GUC, Heliopolis University, etc.), science and technology parks (Smart Village), as well as big malls and shopping centers (CityStars). KarTag also allows for a more conventional carpooling approach, to and from populated downtown areas such as Mohandesseen.
KarTag have been shortlisted for the World Summit Youth Award in the Go Green category, but carpooling in the Arab world still has a long way to go. A strong reputation system that gives users more information about who exactly they’re sharing with will help scale ridesharing and make it even more common practice.