rideShare provides students with carpooling options

rideShare was created as a trial service in fall 2010 at three universities across the nation.

Students who are looking for a ride home for a weekend during the year now have the option to find a ride online through rideShare.

Created as a trial service in fall 2010, rideShare is a website where students sign up, create a profile and begin posting inquires about rides. The trial services were tested at three schools across the nation: Brigham Young University, University of South Florida and MU.

Being one of the beta test sites didn't cost the university anything, and the program has a reputation for being safe Student and Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said.

"A student has to set up an account on the rideShare website with his or her Mizzou email to be verified," she said. "It's not like, 'Hey this stranger said I could ride with him to Kansas.'"

In the past, getting rides with someone wasn't always as easy and safe, Froese said.

"In the old Brady Commons, there was literally a board with a map of the United States where students would put their name and number asking for a ride," she said. "Back then that would have worked, but I guess now it's not something really safe that we would promote, so it's good that we have rideShare participants verified."

After filling out a profile, a student can then post, asking for or offering rides.

"People wouldn't use rideShare for quick trips to Walmart," said Henry Hellmuth, Sustain Mizzou's vice president of programming. "That's what WeCar is used for. (rideShare) is more for people to post about long distance rides."

Since many MU students are from the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, trips are made back and forth every weekend, holiday and break, Hellmuth said.

"Students do go to the airport often, and some who live right by the airport may be willing to offer rides but just don't know how," he said. "The rideShare system is free, so riders and drivers would just have to split up the cost for gas."

Freshman Christina Turner said she thinks rideShare is a great concept, especially since it's a free service.

"I live in St. Louis, and I know if I had my car here, I would offer rides to other students who need to go home or to the airport," she said.

On the sustainability and environmental side, Hellmuth said Sustain Mizzou is really trying to support fewer cars on campus.

"With fewer student cars, there would less traffic and ultimately more spaces available for those who do need their cars on a daily basis," he said. "Sustain Mizzou is all for supporting services that ramp up convenience and lower car use."

Even though rideShare might not be the most well-known service, Froese said the service shows the potential for great things.

"We really are looking forward to strengthening the use of rideShare and are directing people to begin using it," Froese said. "We're definitely anxious to see how far rideShare will go in the next few years."

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