We all know we need to do more ride-sharing. But historically, coordinating rides has seemed like a major headache. Now, however, technology is taking some of the pain out of that process.
A slew of sites and applications have emerged to make it easier to share rides, no matter the occasion: daily commutes, errand-running, and even cross-country road trips. Here are a few:
Co-founded by a guy who created a car-share program at UC Santa Barbara, Zimride built critical mass by focusing on college, university, and corporate communities — places that might logically be able to organize a bunch of people for ride-sharing. Today, it’s available to anyone who wants to coordinate a daily carpool, errand running, or road tripping. They also coordinate with ZipCar, so you don’t even need your own vehicle to get a carpool going. And they have special programs specifically for universities and companies that want to organize a program in-house. Plus, it’s integrated into Facebook, with over 51,000 active users, which makes it easy for you to figure out whether you’ll actually want to be squeezed into a car for an extended period of time with your prospective ride buddy.
Founder Robin Chase, who also created ZipCar, has talked about how having a way to coordinate ride-sharing has made running errands so much more fun. Need to go to the grocery store? Coordinate with a friend and catch up on the way over and back. Among other features, GoLoco lets you create groups for specific events, like a beach party or ski trip — making it easier for everyone involved to find ride buddies. It also lets event promoters create groups for their specific events, like a concert or festival, which can reduce that nasty congestion that always makes going to and leaving events such a drag.
One of the older sites online, it’s also one of the leanest — the Craigslist of ride-sharing sites, if you will. But it’s easy to use: Just plug in your zip code and your ride goal and up pops a list of potential ride buddies. And like GoLoco, eRideshare lets you set up groups (with password protection, if you want) for specific events or groups of people.