UW-Eau Claire launches new online ride-sharing programFebruary 7, 2012
Zimride provided contact information for people driving to areas near her intended destination and an environmentally friendly way to get home for the weekend, Whited said of Zimride, a new online ride-sharing program now available to UW-Eau Claire students.
"Signing up was super simple," Whited said. "I signed in with my UW-Eau Claire username and used Facebook to connect the two. My picture was uploaded, as well as information about music I listen to and my work and school history. All that information is then easily edited on my Zimride profile."
Whited also was matched with a nearby neighbor with whom to share the commute to campus.
"Zimride told me that [another UW-Eau Claire student] lives right down the street from me, so now I have a ride back from campus every Monday evening," Whited said.
Zimride, a San Francisco-based company, was launched last week at UW-Eau Claire and is growing popular with a number of UW-Eau Claire students. Currently there are nearly 420 users in the UW-Eau Claire Zimride system, with the number growing every day, Whited said. Other college campuses using Zimride include five universities in the UW System (UW-Whitewater, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse and UW Oshkosh) as well as the University of Minnesota. Students from UW-Eau Claire can share rides with the users from these other schools.
Zimride was launched in 2007 by co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer and now has more than 300,000 users nationwide and 120 networks for universities and companies. Zimride's program is designed with security and privacy as top priorities, and uses a model that allows clients to quickly launch a Zimride system with very minimal technical work required, according to documentation provided by the company.
"Zimride makes it fun and easy to get to where you need to go while saving money and the environment," said Ben Ponkratz, who was director of the Student Office of Sustainability when work on the ride-sharing project began. "Zimride provides us with a mechanism to alleviate the increasing pressure on parking space, and it has the capacity to drastically increase the number of people making regular commutes together rather than individually."
The university's previous ride board system, which had been in place for decades and was not online, eventually will be discontinued, Ponkratz said.