New Commuter Program Offers Incentives to Share Rides

Posted: March 29, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

NuRide, a new commuter program billed as “the nation’s first ride network that helps people plan trips, ride together, and get paid,” is now available to the George Mason community. Rick Steele, NuRide CEO, visited all three campuses last week to discuss how faculty, staff, and students could benefit from participating in the program.

“Most other online ride-sharing companies focus first on introducing people, who then must work out a schedule that they can ride together,” says Steele. “NuRide focuses on the trips themselves first, and if you book the trip online you can make money in the process.”

Through NuRide, participants register online for free before using the web site’s interactive software to schedule a trip. Users can specify whether they want to ride with men or women and smokers or nonsmokers. When planning a trip, users indicate the time they are leaving, where the destination is, and if they are willing to drive or be picked up. All options are flexible to include exact times and locations or ranges for the categories. The software then tells the user what other drivers are making a similar trip during that time and the user can pick another commuter to ride with. NuRide then sends the other commuter an e-mail with an alert that a new trip has been planned.

Participants can use the program as often as they like, whether it’s for a weekly commute or just when their car is in the shop. Each user has a rating profile to indicate the person’s overall reliability.

Every trip over five miles a user takes earns a minimum of 100 rewards points, with each point equal to one penny. “For people who use this program every day to commute back and forth to work, they earn $10 per week,” says Steele. When participants have earned 2,500 reward points, they are eligible to receive a gift certificate, either online or through the mail, to several vendors, including Blockbuster, Home Depot, Target, Starbucks, and Circuit City.

The program is funded by a special congestion relief grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information or to register, visit NuRide’s web site.

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