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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Zimride connects UC Davis carpoolers online

Looking for a last minute ride home for winter break, or for more passengers to cut your travel expenses? Zimride can link you to fellow UC Davis commuters that are going in the same direction.

Zimride is an online networking tool that unites users in search of a ride and drivers that are interested in carpooling, whether for daily trips to campus or for one-time trips to any location.

“Students living on campus that cannot bring their own cars can find other students going the same way and carpool together,” said Mary Maffly, transportation demand and marketing coordinator at UC Davis’ Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). “For students off campus, it’s a tool to find a carpool partner to campus. But the main benefit is finding a ride home for recreational purposes or for the holidays.”

Launched at UC Davis in Fall 2009, Zimride was first introduced at UC Santa Barbara. It appealed to TAPS as an outlet for the UC Davis community to search for carpools within an exclusive network, but still with the option to open up to all of the Zimride communities.

“When people log on their account, they can decide to stay within the UC Davis world but also create relationships with other [campuses],” Maffly said. “You can choose to stay within a specific world rather than be opened to the random public … there are fixed audiences.”

TAPS also chose to work with Zimride for its green platform and its easy accessibility, Maffly said. The website has user-friendly features, such as emailing users when there is a carpool match.

“Zimride uses a mapping algorithm to determine if other Aggies have posted rides that match theirs (based on timing and location),” said Curtis Rogers, national account manager at Zimride, in an e-mail interview. “If a matching ride is added at a later date, Zimride will send the user an e-mail notification, telling them that they have a possible ride match in the system.”

Rogers also noted that users must have a UC Davis email address to search and make a listing within the Davis network. Currently, there are 1,500 active Davis users.

Additionally, Zimride’s partnership with Facebook adds to its user-friendly features.

“Users can use their Facebook account to log in, if they are a part of the UC Davis network on Facebook,” Rogers said. “[This] automatically uploads their current Facebook picture to their Zimride profile. This also allows potential rideshare partners to view their limited profile, which will show if they have mutual friends.”

Furthermore, Zimride can connect riders that are interested in renting a Zipcar and splitting the reservation cost, Rogers and Maffly said. Zipcars are available on campus, and a membership can be purchased for $35 per year.

Zimride is a service paid for annually by TAPS. Rogers said the current annual price for a campus Zimride partnership is $7,500 if the campus also partners with Zipcar.

Anton Wang, a UC Davis graduate student in nutritional biology, chose to utilize Zimride to save money and help reduce global warming.

“Zimride is very helpful in assisting me to find someone to carpool with and I highly recommend it to others,” Wang said.

UC Davis Zimride can be accessed at zimride.ucdavis.edu.

MARTHA GEORGIS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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