To rideshare or not to rideshare – that is the question

by Andrew Lovesey

I was in a car driving to Ottawa — from Toronto, it’s not too far.
Just about 500 km or so – 4 hours if you don’t drive like my father.


My boyfriend and I were heading there for my mum’s family annual horseshoe tournament. This tradition pre-dates my exisitence, and having not been in a few years now my attendance was necessary. We decided to catch a rideshare to Ottawa to save some cash, and luckily found a young driver leaving when we needed.

Rideshares are certainly a questionable way to travel. Yet, in my opinion, almost completely safe.

Of course there’s the odd chance you may choose a serial murderer as your driver. But the chances of that are probably the same as encountering one walking down a dimly lit street. Yes there are crazies, but I’ve yet to draw the short straw. All of my drivers have been nice, cheery and sane. Thank Perkins, cause if not I’m sure my mother would have been rather uneasy about my travel choices.

I’ve had a couple awkward situations arise during a rideshare before.

I have included my most recent escapade here.

As I said, most of my rideshare experiences have been rather peachy.

Although there are the minorly aggravating people. Not many, but you will always find a couple who seem to find it entertaining to drum out every beat of the song over their thighs.  This was the case of our last rideshare.

Sometimes you just want sleep and the most minute of things can tick you off. Nobody wants to listen to crappy metal riffs and your hands slapping your legs when they’re trying to catch some zz’s before the journey is over.

Note to readers: if you’ve ridden with a driver before opt for the front seat to minimize opportunity for radio pirating.

The deal breaker: we had previously ridden with this driver coming to Ottawa, and had informed him of our last rideshare experience.

Our last experience: It was my boyfriend’s first rideshare. He had never explored this option of travel before, familiar only to planes, trains, and automobiles. In his opinion, it is the most dodgy form of travel known to modern man. Well, that is to say aside from train-hopping, hitchhiking and a few other questionable forms of travel. Let us be honest for just a moment. Rideshares are a glorified form of hitchhiking – pitch in a bit of untaxed loot towards the gas tank and you’re golden. Back to the story- we were leaving from Ottawa to return to Toronto after a week-long visit.

It was six in the morning. I don’t think I had ever left so early when gracing a rideshare. Anyways, we hopped in the car with my mother and she whipped us down the road to the local gas station. It was from here we were scheduled to depart. Over the phone, the driver informed me that another girl would be catching the ride with us from the station. We were caught off guard, wasn’t it to be only us in the car? Were we not banking on the copious amount of resting room we were to be granted?

Our plan was foiled. We arrived at the gas station rubbing our eyes as we unloaded our luggage from my mother’s Benz. There was a frumpy looking girl waiting outside the convenience store. Frumpy was probably too kind a description for this post-apocalyptic raver chick. Torn camo-print cargo pants, with tear-away zippers at the knee. A hideous shirt from some rave scene or another. And, of course, her forearms were littered with bile-inducing plastic rainbow beaded bracelets. Kandy. Oh goodness, I thought leaving arts high school I’d ridden myself of such distasteful accessories. Apparently not. Nonetheless, we all flocked into the vehicle and hit the road.

Halfway down the 416 the girl suggested we listen to one of her CDs. To our dismay she decided to pass up a “Happy Hardcore” CD. This, my friends, is one form of music that should have died years ago. And died again when it was suggested to be played at 6.30 in the morning. Yet somehow the driver agreed. I don’t think I need to continue further with such distressful tales.

Patty’s verdict: Go on, save your money and hop in a rideshare. If you do, I have included a brief list of survival tools crucial to your successful travels.

Rideshare Survival Kit 101

– Bear spray (never know who your driver is)

– Headphones (to block out incessant noise)

– Smartphone (with data connection for constant GPS/safety access)

– Provisions (in case you get dropped somewhere along the 401)