Ride-hailing apps like Uber already have carpooling setups built in, but unlike a new partnership between Nissan and Hytch, they don't pay you to do it.
Nissan is throwing its weight behind startup Hytch and its interesting Hytch Rewards program. Unlike other carpooling schemes, Hytch Rewards will pay drivers and riders -- likely family or coworkers -- to carpool. Hytch's CEO calls it "incentivized carpooling," which is smart, because sometimes the only way to convince someone to do something is by throwing down some simoleons.
Here's how it works. Hytch will track your shared ride via GPS, whether it's part of a regular carpool or ride-hailing service. Once it's confirmed that you've carpooled with someone else also using the app, it will reward you with a cool $0.05 per mile traveled. You can cash out in $10 increments, and while it might take a while to hit that point, free money is still free money.
Hytch Rewards' cash deposits come from various sponsors, which is where Nissan comes into the equation. The app is launching in Tennessee to start -- Nissan calls Nashville home, hence the connection -- but if it really gains traction, odds are it will expand to other markets.
Nashville's traffic is pretty gnarly, which carpooling could help to alleviate. According to Hytch's data, if six percent of commuters started carpooling, it could subtract 1,500 daily trips from the roadways, equivalent to adding an entire extra lane on the highway.