By Lee Rennick
As the “traffic problem” continues to grow in Nashville, the Hytch Rewards app has found a way to help decrease the number of cars traveling back and forth to work every day. Working with partners like Nissan, Sprint, Franklin Synergy Bank, Reliant Bank, David Lipscomb University and others, the Nashville-based social impact tech company has begun paying people to carpool and ride public transportation.
In just 45 days, over 3,000 people joined the app and $20,000 in incentives was paid out. What this means is that over 500,000 vehicle miles have not been driven.
How It Works
Hytch Rewards (available for iPhone and Android devices) allows users to easily connect with people they know, create a carpool, and earn cash rewards during their commute. Both drivers and passengers receive incentives based on miles logged by GPS on the app. The app “syncs” when participant’s phones come in contact, tallies up reward points in route, then automatically detects when the trip is completed.
The app also works for those who share rides on the city bus, vanpool, or Music City Star. As a matter of fact, the largest group of “hytchers” is thirteen people who ride the train into Nashville together from Mt. Juliet.
Thanks to a partnership with Nissan North America, participants currently receive one cent per mile throughout the state of Tennessee and 5 cents per mile in the 10 county region of Middle Tennessee. Additional cash incentives are layered in by several other sponsors, some of which apply only to employees of participating companies, and others designated to specific counties or regions.
An example of this is Lipscomb University. They have signed up as a partner, and Hytch is administering a special program just for students and faculty of the University. Lipscomb will pay students and staff five cents per mile to park off site and ride the bus into campus as a solution to address a shortage of on campus parking spaces. But these participants not only receive the school’s incentive, they also receive mile-by-mile incentives from other sponsors.
“Our goal,” said Hytch founder and CEO Mark Cleveland, “is not only to reduce traffic but also to protect clean air. Every car we take off the road does just that by cutting emissions, and reinforcing more eco-friendly behavior.
The app is evolving as the company learns more about how people are using it. Impressive adoption in the first few weeks since launching shows that people want to share rides. They have also discovered that the app is connecting people in new ways. For example, several commuters who have taken the same bus for years but never spoke, are now friends thanks to the app.
“Congestion is everyone’s problem,” said Cleveland, “this is one way to make a difference and to earn some money while you help solve the problem.”
Cleveland noted that the app is catching on faster than he and his team ever expected. Anyone can join Hytch Rewards just follow the quick and easy steps to connect, jump in a carpool or bus, and enjoy the ride!