A new website is launching next week to help New Yorkers share cabs to and from area airports. The hitchsters.com press release notes how cabs are the most convenient - and expensive - way to get to airports. Here are details on how things would work:

After a user enters in some date, time and other travel information, the patent pending matching system begins looking for a suitable co-rider who matches the user’s criteria. Once a match is made, hitchsters.com
sends each co-rider an e-mail and an SMS message with the phone number and first name of the other rider so they can connect to share a cab.

As an additional safety feature and a way to offer social networking possibilities, hitchsters.com provides users with the option to select a “gender preference” (the matching application will attempt to meet this preference, but if unsuccessful will disregard it to ensure a match is made and the user can save some cash) or a “gender requirement” (if a suitable co-rider with the user’s required gender is not available, then no match is made). A user’s selection of this feature is never revealed to the other co-rider.

Additionally, hitchsters.com saves a record of all matches as an extra safety precaution. On the one hand, anyone can use hitchsters.com to share a cab to and from the airport, and all users use it at their own risk and must use good judgment, but on the other hand, as Gloria Crawford, the Vice President of Marketing for hitchsters.com, notes, “Whenever someone gets into a cab, they are getting into a car with a stranger, and we think three strangers are safer than two.”

Hitchsters will launch on November 11. It should be interesting to see how this works. We imagine the underlying assumption is that people will be able to hail cabs in a timely manner and will pick up all of the passengers. And we guess the rides would be shared by people in the same basic area - or someone headed from the West Side, stopping over to the East Side for others, before heading to JFK or LaGuardia.

The Daily News spoke to Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus about hitchsters, and he said, "It is economical and environmentally conscious, and a great way to maximize our taxicabs." Speaking of environmentally conscious, bring on more hybrids cabs! We just rode in a hybrid SUV taxi and it was great - the driver was very enthusiastic as well.

Would you use a service like this? Do you use the craigslist Ride Share listings? Or are buses (public and private) and the subway reliable enough?

Photograph by edEx on Flickr