Students take a drive with Zimride

UW-Whitewater Zimride, a rideshare program enabled on campus last spring, has seen over 100 new users this year.

While the number of users on Zimride is not high, UW-Whitewater Zimride Coordinator Wes Enterline said the program has seen growth since spring.

“Our active rides are not that high up to this point,” Enterline said. “We have a total of 472 users, and there are 61 active rides [listings online] right now. However, 130 of those 472 users are new [this semester].”

Enterline also said of the 247 rides that have been posted on Zimride, 93 are from this semester, most of them being one-time ride posts.

Zimride is a national ridesharing program that connects college students to one another.  It allows students to find rides to their chosen destination as well as find people interested in helping student drivers cut gas prices as they help others.  The program is completely free, and requires a student ID to access it.  It ensures the privacy and the safety of those students looking to carpool.

Many students at UW-Whitewater without vehicles often have a difficult time trying to find a ride home for the weekend.  Other students with vehicles find high gas prices keeping them at school too.  With Zimride, all that could change.

In addition to one-time trips, the program is beneficial to commuters as well.  Many UW-Whitewater students travel from their hometowns to school every day.  With Zimride, it allows them connect and find a more cost effective way to Whitewater every day.

Zimride also allows users to be very specific in their search for a ride.  Students can discuss driving preferences such as smoking, radio choices, and food upfront.

The program is a new one to UW-Whitewater.  The old physical ride board on campus had lost a lot of interest, and had been removed for a few years.  It came back at the request of the Whitewater Student Government, but it was still not being utilized to a great extent.

Katherine Shanahan, implementation manager and head of marketing of th program, along with Enterline, respectively started talking with the national Zimride program, and it went online at UW-Whitewater in spring 2011.

There are features available to the program that have yet to be implemented at UW-Whitewater.      The national program allows universities to pair with each other to allow students of other schools communication between each other too.

Shanahan said the university is waiting to hear from Zimride users before granting this choice to UW-Whitewater students.

“We are waiting on student feedback [from other universities] because it would allow other students to gain access that our students’ posts,” Shanahan said.

Privacy is flexible to fit the needs of each particular student who chooses to use it.  It allows them to control who sees private information like email addresses and phone numbers.

And for students who prefer to connect beforehand, Zimride easily integrates with Facebook, too.

Shanahan said Zimride is providing a more convenient, reliable way for students to find people to ride with.

“Students are really excited about Zimride,” Shanahan said. “It offers a safer way for them to travel.”

In addition to Zimride being a safe means of travel, Enterline said that Zimride is an important program not only for the students, but for the university as well.

“If we have more campus parking, we have to maintain more lots, more spaces, and we need to police those lots more routinely,” Enterline said. “We’re going to have more commuters unable to find enough available spots. Overall, Zimride reduces the bubble congestion and costs associated with more traffic.”

Any students interested in trying out the Zimride program can sign up at zimride.uww.edu with their Net-ID and password.

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