Gas prices are rising. The economy is tanking (no pun intended). You want to share a ride somewhere to split costs. You could try Craigslist but that seems like a crap-shoot. I mean, you want to find someone to share gas and toll expenses, not a casual encounter. Well, now there’s a more reliable resource for drivers looking for hop-ons or travelers in need of a ride: Zimride.
Zimride combines the technology of Google Maps, the growing power of social networking sites like Facebook and their own matchmaking algorithm to match drivers. The site offers rideshares for one-way trips, roundtrips and even daily commutes. And the social networking aspect of the service encourages people to learn about their potential travel companions before they buckle up and hurl themselves down the asphalt together.
In fact, upon registering, Zimride immediately asks you if you have a Facebook account. If you do, it will ask you for permission to access your Facebook profile. It populates your Zimride profile with information from your Facebook account. You then have the option to edit that information and add details about your vehicle, your preferred driving speed and even your favorite travel music.
Not sure I’d go cross-country using Zimride (though the founder, John Zimmer, did just that when traveling from New York to Palo Alto, CA to prove the site’s usefulness), but it might be a better alternative to taking the bus or train for short trips. And who knows? You may also find a casual encounter out of it.
Have you shared rides? Used Zimride? Have better ideas for finding travel companions? Share your thoughts in the comments.