Friend Trip app – solution to traffic situation or privacy issue?

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is trying to expand the use of social media to aid commuters and use the power of Facebook connectivity. It recently launched the Friend Trip app (currently available only on Google Play) and uses your Facebook friend connections to allow you to carpool. It could be you looking for a ride or you offering a ride.

Facebook is the social media platform for the app

To share your ride, this screen tells your friends your route and seats available

This screen lets you join a trip created by an FB friend

This option lets MMDA monitor your route (safety measure?)

Supposedly, if you are looking to ride with a friend, a screen tells you if there are still seats available. Red says the car is full; yellow means seat is pending; and green means there is a seat available.

Friend Trip is not meant to be like Tripid where the rider pays the driver/owner of the car. This is meant to be a free ride among friends.

MMDA claims the app is safe to use. It supposedly addresses privacy issues because you would only be offering a ride to Facebook friends you are familiar with. This would be true if you are a lady driver, for example, and the one asking for a ride is a man. MMDA says your friend’s profile and picture will appear on the app.You can opt to refuse to offer a ride to a friend. Minors will also need parental consent. As of now, MMDA is considering incentives for those offering their cars in this carpooling scheme – like exemptions from coding or extension of window hours.

I’m still not too comfortable with the app’s safety and privacy features though the objective is noble. The feature that allows the MMDA to record your trip/s is a bit creepy for me although on the bright side, it is a way to check on you for safety purposes. It depends on how you view this feature. I also looked through the app reviews and there was one asking why he could see trips of people he did not know when in fact this was supposed to be limited to trips of Facebook friends. Looks like MMDA still needs to tweak this app so that privacy and security is airtight.

Tita Jane

Tita forever, geek forever!!! Loves gadgets more than clothes... First introduced to IT via punched cards and COBOL programming... IT auditor for over 5 years... IT consultant covering the financial industry for over 7 years... Now, a blogger and social media practitioner...and still covering the IT world, among other interests. And proud that all my kids are geeky as well. ~ Tita Jane Uymatiao

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