Tuesday, September 12, 2006

ridesharing: internet round-up

Living carfree does not have mean that you never ride in a car. Every day thousands of cars travel into, out of, and around Ann Arbor empty except for the driver. If even 0.01% of these drivers were willing to take a passenger, you could probably get anywhere you like by car while living carfree. Whether you would choose to spend all that time in a car when you could be biking or walking is another issue...

Anyway, in an effort to harness the potential of empty car seats, there are a number of websites hooking up rides offered with rides needed. They aren't perfect. Safety is always an issue when accepting a ride with a stranger. EeRideShare recommends a few ways to address safety concerns:
-meet the person before agreeing to carpool
-get a copy of a picture ID
-Exchange medical info and emergency contact numbers
-Discuss safe driving ahead of time
-(I'd add) do a Google search on their name

The plethera of site offering this service spreads the offers out so that there is no central location to search for rides. I've never used any of these to get a ride and I'm not promoting any particular site.

That said, here is a list of rideshare boards I've come across on the internets. If you have used one, please add a comment on your experience.

Craigslist gets a couple new rideshare posts every day, including requests, single-trip, hired drivers, and regular commuters.

Carpoolworld arranges carpools all over the world by matching commutes for members. This one is mostly regularly scheduled commutes. They offer an RSS feed so you always no the most recent trips offered.

eRideShare appears to be the most popular free service, with lots of regular commutes, and a few long distance trips (using "Detroit" yields more long-distance trips) for Ann Arbor. They also pull posts from craigslist, but formatting can make those posts seem screwy.

AATA RideShare: see original post

CarpoolConnect allows you to search for rides by zipcode. There are lots of members in the Ann Arbor area. They also offer a RSS feed and a web midlet so that you can keep up to date on new rides.

Contributed by: Scott TenBrink


Ridester.com said...

You forgot to list the newest one, Ridester that makes ridesharing a lot easier than with those old sites.

On ridester you just post once, then sit back while the site does the searching for you. If something pops up, Ridester actually emails you an update.. Pretty rad.

Aaron said...

There's a bunch of good rideshare websites, including GishiGo. Easy as pie and doesn't have "rules" nor "login/membership". Just use it and GO. Great network design.

Check it out: http://www.GishiGo.com

GishiGo is based on PayPal. Does a good job at filtering out all the BS that's so very common on free anonymous websites like Craigslist and MySpace, etc. People refuse to put up the 99 cents if they are "just BS kidding" (like half the time on some websites), and they refuse to do any identification/papertrail if they are pervs. Seems there are a lot of weird ones on the "anonymous and socially open & politically active" Craigslist (that site is great since it has the eyeballs = the traffic). GishiGo seems to be good tool to use side-by-side with it!

Here's a listing of many RideShare websites: http://rideshare-directory.com/

Scott said...

Neither gishigo and ridester have a lot of SE Michigan offers right now. While some posts and responses may not be for real, Craiglist continues to be where the action is.

With GishiGo, it is frustrating that I can only search for rides on a specific date (+3). I should be able to see all posted rides leaving town for all future dates so that I can choose my best option. Paypal option is nice, though.

With Ridester, I don't like that a driver can't search for ride requests. they do this to prevent limo services from leaching, but it makes finding potential matches difficult without submitting to Ridesters own matching strategy. I also don't like the fact that ridester determines the range of cost for the trip. I see the benefit of "sitting back" while riderster does the work, but I like a little more control I guess.