With the help of Facebook, a former Isla Vista activist and politician has developed a new website geared toward increasing the popularity of carpooling and revolutionizing the way college students travel.
UCSB Alum Logan Green recently launched Zimride.com, a carpool matching website, which he said will make the carpool process safer and more convenient. Green, a former Associated Students vice president and a former I.V. Recreation and Park District board member, said the site currently has about 500 users and provides a simple forum for posting and finding rides.
Anyone with a Facebook account can go to www.zimride.com to sign up for the website’s services using their login email and password. Although a Facebook account is necessary to sign up, the sites are separate – Zimride.com only displays Facebook profile pictures and network affiliations. Users can only see each other’s profiles if they are friends or members of the same network.
As of yesterday, there were approximately 50 rides currently posted, with trips going to and from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Arizona, among other locations.
“The point is that hopefully you’ll get a ride with a friend instead of a stranger,” Green said. “My goal in making this site was to allow someone to know something about the person before they get in the car with them.”
Garo Manjikian, the campus organizer for CalPIRG, used Zimride after meeting Green at a climate change summit in Berkeley.
“I just posted an ad on the site that I was going down to L.A., and someone who I had just met contacted me asking for a ride,” Manjikian said. “The next day we traveled down to L.A. together. Coordinating it wasn’t difficult at all. What Zimride does is make it easier to know who’s going where you’re going.”
Carpooling is not only convenient, but Manjikian said it is better for the environment than driving individual cars.
“Instead of four cars driving, you only have one car,” he said. “Cars are a huge source of carbon dioxide and if we want to curb global climate change, carpooling is just one of the things we’re going to have to do.”
The idea arose in part from Green’s frustration with trying to find rides to Los Angeles during his college career. For three years, Green lived in I.V. without a car, making regular trips down to L.A.
Like many other UCSB students, he traveled via Greyhound or Amtrak, but Green said he grew tired of the limited schedules and numerous delays. Inspired to create a simpler, more time-conscious way for he and other students to travel, Green developed Zimride.com.
The site has been up and running for one month – so far, there are users in six different states, with the majority of posted rides in California.
Green said he thinks the most exciting aspect of his website is its ability to spread the word among friends about available carpools via Facebook. If a user posts a ride on Zimride, it also shows up on their friends’ Newsfeed, regardless whether or not the friends are Zimride users.