“If you haven’t got a ticket back home, if you have space in your car, please let us join hands going back home together.” “The empty seat in your car might be the last hope of others.” These words from Weibo.com, a Chinese Twitter-like micro-blog, called for car owners to give those in need a free ride during Spring Festival holidays in 2012. The campaign was initiated by Wang Yong, an EMBA Class 2003 graduate from Beijing International MBA at Peking University.
Wang, a member of All-China Youth Federation and the secretary-general of Brand China Industry Union, started to give strangers free rides thirteen years ago and has helped over ten thousand people. Apart from doing this himself, he also talked his friends into helping others. In order to organize the holiday car pooling, he canceled his trip to Davos Forum.
He encouraged the car owners to send such information as destination, time, car make, and number of seat available to a specified micro-blog account so that people in need of holiday transport can find an alternative way back home. To secure safety and to clarify responsibility, both the owner and the passenger should download and sign car pooling agreement and apply for or buy accident insurance. Yuecheng Law Firm offered legal affair services and Sunshine Insurance Group offered 106-million-yuan Volunteer Plan. Each pair of owner and passenger is entitled to 500,000 yuan accident insurance coverage.
According to incomplete statistics, 10,000 people from 15 cities participated in the activity, which gained supports from micro-bloggers with the most fans such as Yao Chen, Li Kaifu, Huang Jianxiang, and Xue Manzi. Sina.com introduced the event on front page and Sohu.com also launched a similar “free ride” activity.
Hundreds of presses and medias covered the story, including Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily, CCTV, China News, Hunan TV, Tianjin TV, Global Time (Chinese & English), Beijing Youth, Beijing Times, Radio Beijing Traffic Channel, Radio Dalian Traffic Channel, and West China Metropolis Daily.