For Binghamton University students looking for a last-minute carpool ride home for winter break, posting in a Facebook group may not be the only way to connect with drivers.
In mid-October, BU partnered with the website Zimride, giving students and faculty carpooling options for commuting to and from campus, and an alternative way to travel home for the holidays.
Zimride is a ride-sharing platform designed for companies and universities; its goal is to help riders and drivers connect with friends, classmates or co-workers traveling in the same direction. Drivers and passengers split the cost of gas, and the driver sets a driving fee for potential passengers. Both drivers and those looking for a ride can post on Zimride.
Because of its relatively new presence on campus, some students, like Yohanna Wong, an undeclared freshman, are wary of using Zimride as a means of transportation.
“I’m not sure how I would feel about riding with a stranger, but maybe once this Zimride becomes more common here at Bing, it won’t seem so strange,” Wong said.
According to its website, Zimride is a low-cost, high-impact option, and using it could help reduce campus traffic, parking congestion and students’ carbon footprints.
Jennifer Bishop, the assistant director of BU’s Transportation and Parking Services, wrote in an email that the Finger Lakes Rideshare coalition includes BU, Ithaca College, Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College and Wells College. Members of the BU community can opt to share with students, faculty and staff from BU or with other members in the Finger Lakes Rideshare coalition from different colleges.
Bishop wrote that BU was invited to join the coalition by colleagues at Ithaca College, and that it’s a safe and easy way to ride-share.
“Zimride does not charge any fees to individuals for becoming a member or to post a ride and is a convenient way to participate in ridesharing,” Bishop wrote. “The ride can be to or from anywhere, but the individuals registered as part of the coalition must be associated with one of the participating entities.”
Unlike other ride-sharing companies, Zimride does not have an app, so to find a ride, users must sign into their Zimride accounts and click “Book it” on the Zimride website. Once the payment has been submitted, the request will be sent to the driver, who has 24 hours to accept the booking and their payment. If they don’t, the user will not be charged, and the ride won’t be booked.
Matthew Rosen, a sophomore double-majoring in political science and economics, said he could benefit from a safe carpooling network like Zimride.
“Zimride sounds like a cool idea, since carpooling saves on travel time, as well as saving money in comparison to buying pricey bus tickets,” Rosen said. “I’m also a fan of meeting new people, and traveling with your matched driver or fellow riders gives great opportunity to get to know one another and possibly make new friends.”