By John Addison (4/15/10)
Ride sharing has long been a popular way to commute to work; people save money, have some company, and travel faster in high-occupancy lanes. At colleges, universities, and major events, people are using social networks to hook-up and ride together. More recently, sharing cars by the hour has allowed hundreds of thousands to free themselves from the $8,000 per year cost of owning a car.
In the last year, due to trends such as ride share and car share growth, Americans reduced their ownership of 3.5 million cars. Now car sharing and ride sharing are offered together.
, the world’s largest car sharing provider announced a partnership with , the world’s leading social online ride sharing community. The partnership will integrate car sharing and ride sharing services and make it possible for Zipcar 275,000 members to seek, offer and share Zipcar rides with friends and others in or outside of their social network. It also will enable Zimride 300,000 ride sharers to use Zipcar as their vehicle, removing the need to own a car. The joint service is offered to colleges and universities; Stanford University has starting using the program.
“Zipcar is the perfect partner, given that they are operating car sharing programs on over 120 colleges and universities across the country,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and COO of Zimride. “Both companies aim to decrease emissions, reduce vehicle miles traveled and save people money. Sharing a Zipcar and ride sharing with your friends magnifies the benefit all the way around – it’s a 1+1=5 kind of impact.”
Zipcar leverages Web and wireless to make reserving and using a car by the hour easy. I am a member, with Zipcars only two blocks away. Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing service with 6,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 26 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models including a few plug-in hybrids.
“The market for our services on campuses across the country is huge. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are nearly 13 million faculty, staff and students on more than 2,500 campuses, many of whom don’t have convenient access to transportation,” said Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar. “We chose to partner with Zimride because their innovative and scalable platform is a great foundation for building a national network of rides. Zipcar fills the car ownership gap for the Zimride model, since people most likely to ride share are those that are least likely to own a car.”
Given the parking constraints, socially-oriented populations, and high demand for ad-hoc transportation at universities, Zimride and Zipcar have created a customized version of their application specifically designed to allow students, faculty and staff direct access to the system.
The integrated service will allow Zipcar members to share a ride by automatically posting the date, time and destination of the Zipcar trip to the Zimride campus community. Once posted, Zimride’s route matching algorithm finds and notifies users looking for a ride. Additionally, Zimride members may find a local Zipcar to share at anytime. This is done seamlessly through a customized campus Zimride website or Facebook application.
Zipcar’s low hourly rates already include gas, insurance, parking, maintenance and 24/7 service: sharing that ride with others can lower the cost even more. This practice will also further reduce carbon emissions. Zipcar members already reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 40 percent compared to owning a car. Now, with ride sharing in a Zipcar, VMT’s are reduced even further.