The idea for Raye7 (Arabic for 'go') came to Samira Negm during her daily commute from her Cairo home to her office. The 27-year-old decided that being stuck in traffic ever day was just “too much”. During a business trip to Stuttgart she learnt about carsharing agencies. In Egypt, however, travelling with strangers is considered dangerous, most people don’t plan their journey very far in advance, and people are uncomfortable exchanging money with strangers.
But the underlying idea, that citizens organise among themselves to solve their problems, instead of waiting on the corrupt and incompetent state apparatus seemed to make sense to Samira. That was precisely the principle that had worked so well in the Egyptian Revolution. With that, she began developing a concept for her own carsharing app. It gets around the security concerns regarding an entirely public platform by allowing users to identify social circles in which they feel comfortable.
Alumni from a private university or work colleagues have things in common, can be easily verified online, and thus can share a care without hassles. The same goes for Facebook friends. Instead of registering for trips in advance, Raye7 users get messages about current carsharing possibilities sent to their smartphone.
In order to avoid the awkwardness surrounding fiancial transactions, the app works with a points system. Car owners can collect points for taking passengers with them and exhange them either for money or rides of their own. Travellers without cars pay for trips with points, which are charged to their mobile phone account.
According to the founder, the app's target market – young professionals and university students – is not interested in the fact that it helps reduce the grey smog that hangs over the 18-million-strong metropolis. Rather, car owners can earn some money and offset rising petrol prices, as well as not having to travel alone on long car trips. In turn, commuters without their own car don't have to take the bus or the metro (on which many women experience sexual harassment) or pay for expensive taxis. Any environmental benefit is merely a nice side effect.