Photo of the Zipcar logo jm3 via flickr.
Seems like a smart idea for Zipcar, the world's biggest on-demand car share program, to team up with Zimride, the online carpooling tool that helps match available drivers with ready-to-go riders. A pilot of a combined service will launch at Stanford today and allow Zipcar members getting a car to broadcast the time, date, and final destination of their trip - and also a estimated price per rider. Zimride's software then takes care of matching ready riders to the members. The question is, would you be willing to pick up so-called strangers in this way?Share rides with 'people you trust'
Zimride was started in 2007 and is one of a small number of carpooling software applications that are trying to integrate social networking applications such as Facebook and text messaging for a seamless way to match up drivers and riders. Zimride's business plan is to charge universities to use the ride-sharing software on their web sites. Competitors like Goloco.org work more on a per-ride theory - each time a rider and driver are matched up the rider pays a small fee from which the company would take a commission. Potential riders create an online profile, and then start looking for rides. Integration with Facebook and Myspace has been a great boon to Zimride because it allows riders to evaluate their potential driver's profile and see who he/she is "friends" with - a simplistic form of vetting. You can also set preferences and see your driver's penchant for things like smoking, radio volume level, etc.
Expanding that service to everywhere there are Zipcars can reduce the need for individual car ownership even further as well as appease the gods of sustainable mobility with fewer vehicle miles traveled per individual. In addition, the Zipcar/Zimride partnership can be a boon at places like Stanford, where first-year students must live on campus and are not allowed to have a car. Currently, Zipcar has 18 vehicles on the Stanford campus with 1,200 members. The current hourly driving rate is $8, or approximately $66 a day. Zimride has 1,400 members at Stanford.
Worldwide Zipcar has 275,000 members, with an almost equal number of Zimride members.Zipcar's CEO Scott Griffith said the partnership service will be launched at dozens of U.S universities in the coming year. Via Wall Street Journal Online
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