If you’ve never heard of Poparide, it is the biggest ridesharing platform in Canada. Poparide was only created in 2014 so it’s still growing and until Blablacar decides to expand to Canada and the USA, Poparide is the platform that you should be using to find rides in those countries.
However, if you are planning to rideshare in Europe, Brazil, India, Mexico, or Turkey, Blablacar is the platform you should be using. Learn more about it in my Guide to Blablacar.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of ridesharing in the first place, you should check out my Guide to Ridesharing to learn everything you need to know about it, but in essence, it involves joining a local driver who plans to drive from one destination to another in their personal vehicle for a fee.
Unlike ride-hailing (i.e. Uber/Lyft) which is on-demand, meant for short distances, and an alternative to taxis, ridesharing has to be planned for in advance, meant for long-distances, and is an alternative to long-distance buses or trains. Ridesharing can often be cheaper than other forms of transportation and can also make for a fun experience as you get to meet locals and other travelers as you do it!
On this page, I will give you a simple and straightforward step-by-step guide on how to create a Poparide account and book your first ride so without further ado, let’s get into it!
1. Create your account
If you create your account using this link, you will receive $5 in credit to use towards your first ride with Poparide!
Go to the link above and sign up for a Poparide account. You can sign up using your Facebook or Google accounts or your email address so pick whichever you prefer. I recommend using your Facebook account as having your Facebook account linked will give you extra verification on your profile. If you choose to sign up with email, you will have to verify your email address by clicking the link that Poparide sends to it.
You will then be asked to verify your phone number. If you haven’t left for your trip yet, put your normal cell phone number there for now, but if you’re already in Canada or the US and you have a local SIM card (highly recommended: check out my Guide to Prepaid SIM Cards for more info), use that number. You will then receive a 6-digit code via SMS at the phone number you chose which you will have to input on the website.
Once your phone number is verified, you will then have to input your birthdate and gender. After that, you will be asked to upload a profile picture. The best photos are ones where you are alone and facing the camera without sunglasses or a mask. A profile photo is important to reassure drivers and make it easy for them to recognize you when you’re trying to find each other at the pickup point.
After that, you will be asked to write a short bio. I recommend talking about yourself, where you’re from, why you’re using Poparide, and your interests. Remember, potential drivers will see this when you request a ride with them so the more information you provide about yourself, the more likely a driver will want to give you a ride!
Once you agree to their terms and conditions, your account will be created and you will be taken to your dashboard. At this point, you could begin searching for rides, but I recommend completing your profile first.
2. Complete your profile
Click the three horizontal lines in the top-right of the page to open the menu and then click on profile settings. Click on preferences and indicate whether or not you are okay if others smoke during the ride and whether you’re typically quiet or if you love to chat.
Keep in mind that these are just preferences and won’t affect your search results. They just help drivers know what to expect from you as a passenger and if the driver is a smoker, they can check with you about it in advance!
Next, click on ID Verification and verify your ID by uploading a photo of your passport, driver’s license, or National Identity Card. This will give your profile a verification badge which helps reassure drivers that you are who you say you are.
This badge is also something that you should be looking for in a driver’s profile as it helps you know what to expect from them and avoid drivers who don’t match your preferences or who seem sketchy!
If you’re a student at a Canadian university or other post-secondary institution and you have a student email address, open the menu in the top-right of the page again and click on Students. Find your university and verify your student email address to receive an extra $5 credit that you can use towards your first ride!
3. Start looking for rides
Now that your profile is set up, you can start looking for a ride! Click on the orange magnifying glass in the top-right of the page and simply input your departure & arrival points as well as the date you want to see rides, and then click search!
You will get shown all the rides available for your search sorted by departure time as well as details about the departure & arrival points, the name, gender, age, and picture of the driver as well as the number of people they’ve driven, the number of reviews they have and their rating. If their profile is verified and they’ve connected their Facebook account, then you can also see how many Facebook friends they have.
You will also get shown the type of car they have, a photo of it if they uploaded one, how many seats they have available and the price per seat in Canadian dollars (not including the service fee), as well as the types of preferences and luggage options they have available. pick the rides that interest you and click on them to get more information about them.
*You might also see some small orange squares with other profiles in your search results. These are seat requests made by people who are looking for rides for the same itinerary that you searched for. You can ignore those as they are meant for drivers to see and if you can’t see any actual rides available, you can create your own seat request by clicking the blue Post button in the top-right of the page.
4. Compare your options
Note the departure & arrival points carefully as they may not exactly be in the same cities you originally searched for. Poparide will show you nearby rides that are also available in case they aren’t too far for you. Check where the departure point is on Google Maps and if you don’t think you can make it there, look for another ride.
Also check where the arrival point is too to make sure you can get dropped off where you need to go. You can also ask a public question to the driver before you make a booking to ask if they are willing to pick you up or drop you off at another location.
Above the Request to Book button, you can see what the driver wrote about the trip and if you click the driver’s photo, you can see their profile including their bio, verifications, stats about their rides, and how long they’ve been a Poparide member.
You can also see the driver’s rating and all the reviews they’ve received as well as the recent trips they’ve made and any upcoming trips they also have planned.
5. Book your ride
Once you’ve compared all the options and found the ride that you like, press the Request to Book button at the bottom of the page to book it. You will get asked to agree to Poparide’s rules and then get taken to the booking screen. Here you will see the total price including the service fee in Canadian dollars.
You can change the number of seats you require, add a private message, and how soon you need a response (the system will cancel your request if the driver doesn’t respond in the time limit you give). Fill in your payment card information and the promo code you got from signing up with this link to save $5 and then click Request to Book!
If the driver set it up so the ride has instant approval, then you will receive a confirmation notification that your ride is booked. Otherwise, your request will get sent to the driver for approval and after they review your profile, they will decide whether or not they want to approve your request. If they don’t respond in time, the request gets cancelled and your money gets refunded.
*If you try to avoid the service fee by giving out your phone number or email address in an attempt to organize the ride with the driver directly, Poparide may suspend your account so be careful.
6. Contact your driver and coordinate the pickup
Once your booking is confirmed, you’ll receive the driver’s phone number. Coordinate on the pickup time and location with them, either via a phone call or text message. When it’s time, head to the pickup point and look for their car.
Try not to be late because some drivers might be on a tight schedule and choose to leave without you if you take too long. Plus, the earlier you get there, the better the chance that you get to pick your seat first if there are other people joining the ride too!
*If you need to cancel your booking for whatever reason, you will receive a full refund minus the service fee if you cancel 24 hours before the departure time and only a 50% refund minus the service fee if you cancel less than 24 hours before departure.
If you no-show and don’t cancel your booking, your payment will go to the driver. If the driver cancels or no-shows, you receive a full refund including the service fee.
7. Enjoy the ride!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a washroom break or a pit stop if you need to stretch your legs or grab some food, and get to know your driver and fellow riders! Poparide gives you a chance to make new friends and get some recommendations from a local.
I’ve met so many awesome people because of ridesharing and had a lot of fun experiences. Sometimes, I’ve even hung out with the other people from my ride at the destination we were all going to!
Once the ride is complete, confirm it via the app so the driver gets paid and be sure to leave them a review. This will also encourage them to leave you one since they won’t see your review until they write you one and the more reviews you have, the easier it will be for you to book future rides!
And that’s all there is to it!
If this guide was helpful for you, let me know in the comments below. And tell me about your Poparide experiences! I’d love to hear about them.
And if you’re feeling even more adventurous, check out my Guide to Hitchhiking to learn how you can get a similar experience to ridesharing, but for free!