You’ve been there. A lengthy solo drive. Four empty car seats. Nothing but your auxiliary cord for company.

Entrepreneur Seb Lindner found himself in that situation driving from Melbourne to the Blue Mountains earlier this year. After failed attempts to fill his car with passengers by advertising empty seats on Gumtree and in closed Facebook groups, Linder identified the need for a safe platform to connect drivers and passengers on the road.

In September, Linder will launch Buckle Up – a ridesharing app and platform with a mission to ease congestion, while connecting like-minded travellers and festival-goers on the road.

“I wanted to tackle the bigger issue of transport and its inefficiency,” Lindner explains. “With so many spare seats on the road and drivers travelling long distances solo, I wanted to make it easy for people to find drivers or passengers in the one place.”

To begin with, Lindner hopes to attract those travelling to music festivals and sporting events outside major cities, such as Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, and Beyond the Valley. Once the app gains momentum, Buckle Up will expand nationally to connect passengers travelling interstate.

Lindner underscores that there will be a strict verification process involved, and security measures in place. First, each rider and driver must sign up via Facebook. All users will be required to upload contact details that will be verified with a photo submission of a driver's licence and vehicle registration number. While these security measures might seem to be a lengthy process, each step is integral to keep the network as safe as possible.

“In the early stages of the app, each user will be manually verified and approved by the Buckle Up team, so we can keep an eye on each driver or passenger and flag anything of concern,” he said.

As an extra safety measure, Buckle Up will insure both passengers and drivers for any liability in case of damage to the car, a crash or an emergency.

A key feature of the app will be a messaging function that allows passengers to liaise with different drivers before they request a ride, similar to when you make an enquiry on Airbnb to get further information about a property or host.

As for cost, the driver can nominate how much he or she will charge for a seat, a point of difference from other ridesharing platforms such as Uber, Hi Oscar and Shofer.

“Of course, there is a money element to the app,” said Lindner. “But that’s not really what it's all about.

“I’m trying to get cars off the road, not to create more jobs. Sure, there might be people who could take advantage of Buckle Up to make money, however, the goal is to reduce congestion and connect like-minded festival goers headed in the one direction.”

Lindner wants to host regular feedback sessions with users to identify areas for improvement.

To date, Buckle Up has attracted almost 300 interested drivers and riders, and will launch in Melbourne in September.

Buckle Up will be available on the App Store and Google Play from September.

buckleupapp.com

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