You may have heard that Uber—banned from operating in Spain in 2014—has returned to Barcelona in the form of a food delivery service. So while you might not be able to summon a lift from your smartphone you can, at least, snag a hot meal. Getting around Barcelona isn’t difficult as there’s no shortage of traditional taxis, but that doesn’t help much if your destination is in a completely different city. Enter Bla Bla Car, a cheap ridesharing service that’s as unique as it is convenient. Today in this article from ShBarcelona, we’ll be talking about the popular Spanish rideshare service, Bla Bla Car.
Related Article: Save Money Traveling Around Spain Sharing a Car
Bla Bla Car: how it works
Let’s say you’re planning a weekend trip to Girona. You’d like to find the cheapest transportation available, immediately ruling out car rentals and the fastest trains. You don’t mind carpooling as you’d rather split the cost of petrol instead of shelling out Euros for the AVE, but instead of resorting to hitchhiking, you jump on the Bla Bla Car website or app, choose your dates and destination, and find a driver selling a seat in their car. You get a cheap ride to Girona while your driver gets someone to help foot the travel expenses. Both of you get a travel companion to (hopefully) enjoy the ride with. Think of it as AirBnB for car sharing. Drivers and passengers can raise their experience level by having a complete profile and receiving positive feedback from other members. A higher experience level means that you’re a trusted member of the Bla Bla Car community and are thus more likely to find a passenger/driver for your next trip. Drivers with more experience can generally charge a little more for a seat in their car. What’s more, drivers set their preferences to show if they allow smoking, if they’re okay with pets and even how chatty they are (hence the name). All payments are handled on the app or website via bank transfer or PayPal so cash is never exchanged between passengers and drivers, just conversation and the occasional playlist.
After hearing about Bla Bla Car, Shbarcelona still wasn’t convinced. Too many questions remained: How much are he rides? What if you get a creepy travel companion? Just how safe is it? We caught up with a student in Barcelona who’d recently used this car-sharing service for the first time and asked about her trip.
ShBarcelona: How did you hear about Bla Bla Car?
My Catalan roommate suggested we use the service after we couldn’t find affordable train and bus tickets from Barcelona to Madrid over a holiday weekend.
ShBarcelona: What was the booking process like?
The app shows all available rides for the day, according to when and where you want to go. You’re able to see the model of the car you will be riding in, how many seats are available and the approximate time of arrival. Once you select a driver they can accept or reject your request for a ride. We were able to choose an agreed upon pick-up destination by messaging back and forth on the app.
ShBarcelona: How much did it cost?
I paid about 32 Euros, one-way, from Barcelona to Madrid, but that was during a holiday weekend. It might be cheaper during other times.
ShBarcelona: Would you do it again?
Absolutely. It was a lot more affordable than taking the train and our driver was friendly. We made the trip with his dog, but my roommate and I didn’t mind. I’d definitely try Bla Bla Car again.