Published September 17, 2002
Volume 10, Number 9

RIDES Lets You Find Ridesharing Opportunities Via the Web

Finding an alternative to driving your car alone to work sometimes means checking out the bus and train schedules to figure out a way to take public transit. However, as more than ten percent of commuters from Hacienda’s major companies know, public transportation isn’t the only way to leave your car at home. Whether you opt to drive and take along passengers or ride along with someone else who has a similar commute route, car and van pools offer a great alternative to a solo commute. The time has never been better to consider carpooling and vanpooling as RIDES for Bay Area Commuters is unveiling a new web-based ride-matching program.

RIDES is a private non-profit organization that helps commuters and businesses find and use alternatives to driving alone. RIDES encourages and helps people in their efforts to take public transit, to walk, to telecommute, and to carpool and vanpool, with the mission of reducing congestion and air pollution. The organization is also under contract to operate the regional rideshare program for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). In addition to helping commuters find car and van pooling opportunities, it provides all kinds of commute information, including helping people plan their trips using transit. 

RIDES, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, has launched a new Internet ride matching system at www.rides.org/main/matchlist.htm. This new system allows commuters to find potential carpool or vanpool partners on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “In the past, commuters called us and gave us information about where they worked, where they lived, and the hours that they worked,” says Karen Bakar, manager of marketing for RIDES. “We would pull out the list of people that they could carpool or vanpool with and mail it to them. The difference here is that people create an account for themselves online. You fill in your information and then you just click a button that says ‘find matches.’ Not only do you get a list of people you can carpool with, but you also get a map that shows you where these potential ride share partners live with respect to your home.” After you’ve established a password, you have control over the profile you create. If you change jobs or your work hours change, for example, you can go in and change that information and pull up a new carpool or vanpool list derived from the more than 7,500 users listed in the RIDES database. 

Currently, RIDES is offering an incentive to encourage commuters to use the online system. People who sign up online for a list of carpool or vanpool partners will automatically be included in a drawing where they could win a prize at the end September, October, November, December, and January. Prizes will include a $200 gift certificate for an electronics store, a $250 shopping spree at a local Bay Area mall, and a one-year membership to 24 Hour Fitness. It’s just more evidence that it pays to investigate your transportation options.

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