MU joins online carpooling service

The program, called RideShare, is a free service.

MU has joined the new online program RideShare, a website that provides students who are traveling to the same place an easy way to network with each other.

RideShare, a free service, is still in its initial beta testing stage, and MU is only the third school to join this new program. It follows Brigham Young University and the University of South Florida.

Student Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said in an e-mail that because the university is participating in the beta testing program, the service is free of charge to MU. Similar services charge up to $10,000 for campuses to access the software.

To access the website, users must create an account and join MU’s online group. Then, all the other users from that area are shown, along with a picture of them, past carpools they have participated in and any pending rides.

RideShare also sends students instant notifications through e-mail or their cell phones to let them know when someone has posted a ride going to their home city.

Froese said in the past, when campus was smaller, there was an actual ride board in the Brady Commons. The ride board was a large wooden map of the U.S. with pegs where students could leave their names and contact information to see if anyone wanted to share a ride to a certain location.

“Those were the days when we weren’t inundated with stories of serial killers, etc.,” Froese said. “The former program would not meet the safety standards we would want for our students today.”

On RideShare, all a student’s personal information is kept private, and there is no spam or sharing information with a third party.

Right now, RideShare is an unknown concept to most MU students.

“I think RideShare is a good program for people who want to use it, but I would personally rather carpool with my friends,” freshman Kaleigh Whiston said after being informed of how the website works.

Former BYU student Matthew Scott said he hasn’t had much luck with the RideShare website.

“I first interacted with the ‘Ride Board’ at BYU,” Scott said. “The website seems to be an outgrowth of that concept, because the ride board had so much trust built into it.”

Scott said students knew who was posting, and they had more peace of mind when sharing a ride with someone.

“I think it sounds like a pretty risky business, if you were to ride with a stranger,” freshman Dylan Macoubrie said. “I’d prefer to text my friends to carpool, not use a website.”

According to RideShare’s website, a part of RideShare’s profits are donated to charities, such as Clean Media United, Enterprise Mentors International and United Angels Foundation.

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