Car travel app to put Norwich company in the fast lane

Liftshare team members(l to r) Mike Knights, Sergio Aguilar, Jemma Pennick and Ali Clabburn launch a

Liftshare team members(l to r) Mike Knights, Sergio Aguilar, Jemma Pennick and Ali Clabburn launch a new app for android for their community car sharing business. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The boss of a Norwich car-sharing company has said it can now compete with 'the big boys' after the launch of its first mobile phone app.

Liftshare, a company which links users to share car journeys, has made its first serious venture into the consumer market with its downloadable app for android phones.

The GPS (global positioning system) software, which allows users to login and search for people offering lifts to shared destinations, will also be available on the Apple Playstore in the next couple of weeks.

Since its launch the app has received rave reviews and founder Ali Clabburn hopes to take the business he formed 16 years ago higher up in an already competitive market. 'We're now sticking our neck out with the big boys,' he said. 'The transport sharing market has changed, with £4billion invested last year. With this new app we're definitely competing, which is exciting.'

Taxi-booking company Uber has the lionshare of the market, said Mr Clabburn, but it is Liftshare with a journey on every road in the UK and 3000 users in Norfolk alone.

And unlike Uber, Liftshare is based around cost saving, socialising and environmental consideration, all of which are now accessible when users are out and about.

'People can have access to car-sharing in their pockets,' said Mr Clabburn. 'It also tells them when their lift is coming so they don't have to wait around in the cold.'

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The team was helped in its development of the app through working with technology agency Digitas LBI in London, which created it free of charge.

The firm, which employs around 30 staff, has until now mostly run a B2B service for employers but with the app is taking greater steps towards consolidating its individual consumer market.

Payment has previously been between passengers and drivers, with Liftshare only taking commission for bookings online.

Now, the app is set to increase the rate of online 'matches' and consequently commission profit for the company.