New Ride Sharing Network Makes Carpooling Easy

Posted: January 20, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: January 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm

By Dave Andrews

The days of finding a carpool simply by coincidence are over. No longer is carpooling only for long-time friends or office co-workers. Mason is making the task of finding a ride as easy as it gets.

Within the next two months, Mason will implement Zimride, an easy-to-use carpooling web site that connects classmates or co-workers who are heading in the same direction. Zimride is available for everyone in the Mason community to use freely.

Zimride began in 2007 as a Facebook application and quickly expanded into a web-based service for universities and companies that want to help people coordinate commutes. More than 40 universities are now using Zimride, as well as a growing number of companies such as Cigna and Wal-Mart.

“Some of the other universities that have signed with Zimride are often considered the most ‘progressive’ schools in the nation, particularly the University of Colorado and UC-Berkeley,” says Josh Cantor, director of parking and transportation at Mason.

“We know it was a good move for Mason, and we feel very comfortable being among the list of Zimride schools.”

Mason, like many other Virginia schools, was using the ride-sharing network Goloco. Even though Mason had no financial obligation to Goloco, years of mild student interest prompted the switch to “a company that brings more energy,” Cantor says.

Universities typically pay about $10,000 per year to use the Zimride platform. Cantor says that once the program builds momentum, it will prove to be a valuable investment to solve regional traffic and campus parking dilemmas.

Mason is also beginning the bidding process to implement a car sharing program, such as Zipcar or a similar company. The idea to have multiple Zipcars on the Fairfax and Arlington Campuses was pursued a few years ago, but contractual setbacks delayed the plans.

The Office of Parking and Transportation is planning a large promotional campaign during the spring semester to generate student and employee interest in the Zimride program.

More information can be found on the Zimride web site.

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