Communter (a grassroots alternative to Uber)
July 31, 2014 5 Comments
Communter (Community and Unter playing off Uber, but emphasizing support from underneath not above) is designed to facilitate non-commercial support within a community, beginning with help transporting the elderly to libraries, shops, medical appointments, and concerts, but extending in whatever ways the community members invent (e.g., designing a permaculture plot for a household, providing company in the form of sitting with the person, gardening together, etc.)
(This proposal arose as a “Design sketch” on Case 4 of Design for Living Complexities: What would it look like for a community to integrate the elderly into community life and enable their full participation? How would the transition to there from where we are now be organized?)
People convey a need via an app or, for people without a smartphone, via a toll-free number (where someone, funded by the community, communicates with the app). People who have spare time use the app (or the toll-free number) to indicate that they can respond to that need.
The reward for the responder is credits, which can be used to cover future needs or contributed to a community bank. If the person with needs has no credits, they can access the bank. Bonus credits (drawn from the bank) are gained for cross-generational help. Credits can be transferred freely (not for $$) among community members.
Responder ratings allow requesters to judge the reliability of responders. Requester ratings allow responders to decide if the requester might be an over-user of the system.
Communter could be jump started by enlisting community organizations—from Rotary to Scouts, Reevaluation counseling to Permaculturalists—who might, say, compete for the most credits earned in the first year or the greatest range of needs met.