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Santa Clara University Takes Ridesharing Social

Santa Clara University (SCU) has established a private online ridesharing network to help students, faculty, and staff share commutes or one-time road trips.

The university's new ridesharing network uses Zimride, an online carpooling tool that helps drivers and riders find each other. It's intended to complement the school's existing registered carpool program, which provides free parking to members. Despite the incentives of the registered carpool program, the majority of the school's faculty and staff have continued to commute alone, as have the the majority of students who drive to school rather than walking, biking, or using public transit.

"We hope Zimride will encourage more people to carpool and hopefully get more people signed up for SCU's carpool program," said Millie Kenney, SCU's interim service manager for Campus Safety Services.

Zimride currently has more than 350,000 users and 80 private Zimride networks in addition to Santa Clara University. Although Zimride has a public network to help anybody share a ride, it focuses on college, university, and corporate communities to facilitate ridesharing between friends, classmates, and coworkers.

Zimride members can sign in to the private ridesharing network for their school using a valid e-mail address associated with the school or using their Facebook account if they are a member of that school's Facebook network. Public users must sign in using a Facebook account.

Once they are logged in, members specify whether they are a passenger, driver, or either, and enter the starting and ending points for their trip, as well as the frequency and timing. Zimride provides options for regularly or irregularly scheduled commutes, as well as one-time trips. Zimride users can limit their ride to members of their Zimride network, make the ride public, or share it with other trusted Zimride networks. Users can also create member profiles to indicate their favorite in-car music and radio stations, as well as smoking preferences.

Santa Clara University is striving to reduce the number of cars on its campus. The university has already eliminated 107 parking spaces and has converted six parking spaces to charging stations for electric cars. "Zimride's solution is appealing to our students, faculty, and staff, which will enable us to reduce congestion and make campus commuting more efficient for everyone," said Kenney.

"This is a win-win situation for everyone, especially for students who live off campus and for faculty and staff whose commute can be terrible in the mornings and evenings," said Courtney-Lauren Seymour, SCU's student body president. "Anyone who regularly drives on Bay Area freeways knows how brutal traffic can be. By carpooling, they'll be able to drive in the carpool lanes, shortening the amount of time they spend on the road."

Santa Clara university is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco. It is California's oldest operating higher-education institution and serves more than 8,800 undergraduate and graduate students at its Silicon Valley campus.

Further information about Zimride is available at zimride.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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