Germany has a national carpooling website that gives opportunities both to the driver and to the ride-seeker to find each other and share a ride together with its cost for fuel. Unfortunately, the website, called Mitfahrgelegenheit, is not in English but German, French, Italian, Polish and Greek. Nonetheless, it is quite easy to understand how everything works: you can scroll search from your departure point (de:von) to a destination (de:nach); you can see exact ride dates and number of passenger places offered. If you search for a ride from or to Germany, click on Europa link. Contacting a driver is usually done by email, although some drivers do leave their phone numbers). When getting in contact with the driver, one should find an agreement on a price and departure place/date/time.
Such a system offers a low cost alternative to hitchhiking. A similar system exists in Belgium, too.
Experiences has shown, however, that hitchhiking very often is faster than Mitfahrgelegenheit since the driver often drives into cities on their route to pick up new passengers (or to leave them at their exact destination spot).
Note: de:Abfahrt = Departure / de:Ankunft = Arrival
Pro & Cons
- it's cool that it enables people to find organized rides further away.
- sometimes rides are free
- if you are using services like this, you might as well use public transport, MFG has nothing to do with hitchhiking
- rides often cost money
- and some people seem to use it to actually make money
- some of the drivers participating don't pick up non-paying hitchhikers
- you are bound to a specific time, date and place to meet the driver on his way to the destination if he's picking you up somewhere. Same for the starting time, though, sometimes people are flexible.
- If drivers pick up more (paying) people, they might bring them to fixed destinations along the way (train stations in the middle of huge cities, etc.) which might bring them way out of the motorway and costs quite a lot of additional travel-time.
- Not significantly faster than hitchhiking itself, especially in Germany.