Facedrive is a new Toronto startup that’s offering emission neutral rides through its environmentally-conscious ridesharing service.
The recently launched app uses an algorithm to calculate the estimated CO2 for each journey and offset the carbon footprint by donating money to the Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation, a charity that works with the city to support tree planting.
“This is a creative solution to tackling an important issue,” said Carla Grant, the executive director of Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. “Planting trees is one of the most cost-effective ways we can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and an investment in urban trees increases the positive impact.”
Facedrive gives riders the option to cruise in an electric vehicle, but its fleet also include hybrids and fuel-based cars which will be enrolled in the emissions offsetting program. The Toronto-based startup is the first ridesharing company that includes a carbon emissions reduction plan as part of its service.
But the new sustainability measure doesn’t mean Facedrive is charging riders more to use its service or that drivers need to cash out for the green initiative.
“We believe things can be done differently,” said Facedrive’s president Irfan Khan. “The ridesharing model can shift to reward drivers for their hard work while offering riders a premium experience that positively contributes to the wellbeing of the environment.”
The startup is differentiating itself from other rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft with an alternative pricing model. It does not include surge fares as part of its fee structure and pays drivers between 85 to 90 per cent of each journey’s total fare—the highest industry payout.
The base fare for sedans is $2.50, whereas the charge for an SUV is doubled. Both vehicle types charge a $2.75 service fee with different charges for trip time and distance. Facedrive’s app also includes driver tipping.
Using the money generated through its neutral emissions initiative, Facedrive’s initial goal is to plant 16,000 trees in Toronto over the next year.
Facedrive is currently licensed throughout Ontario and has begun servicing Toronto and the city’s downtown core. The startup has plans to roll out its service to Montreal in 2018, with Stockholm as the first European city pegged for its international expansion, according to the company’s website. Facedrive’s app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.