By Austin Holmes, Sustainability Office
Commuting to the University of Utah just became much easier, thanks to a new partnership with Zimride by Enterprise that launched only a month ago. Already, nearly 400 people are using it.
Zimride is a free online ride-matching service provided by Enterprise Rent-A-Car for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Utah. Members of the U community can access Zimride by going to www.zimride.com/utah and logging in with their University ID number. The service provides a variety of ride-matching opportunities, such as establishing a carpool from a specific destination, finding other passengers to share the cost of gas, or finding rides to other cities or destinations. Zimride makes the previously inconvenient task of trying to find people to share the commute with more convenient and efficient. Those who have signed up for Zimride can set up rides for commuting, taking weekend trips, running errands, or traveling for Fall Break.“I signed up for Zimride because I thought it was a good idea, kind of like Uber, and a way to make a more efficient commute and save some money. I like how it shows you who else is in your area,” said Keegan Atack, a senior in Psychology and one of the early adopters of the program. “As for the ride matching, I feel like it does a good job at recommending people for me to match with. They do a good job at matching me with people within a few miles.”
The network is private for the University of Utah, with the option to also post to networks for Utah State and Brigham Young universities. Both drivers and passengers can use Zimride. Drivers can post rides that specify their area, commute time, seats available, and request gas money for each ride. Passengers can use the search tab to find rides and contact those who have posted rides. Zimride also integrates with Facebook, which helps to further connect those who are signed up.
Some of the benefits of using Zimride include reducing gas costs, improving air quality, and establishing a more connected commuting community. An increase in carpooling to the U will also decrease the number of vehicles on the roads and in parking lots, reducing the stress of congested traffic and the calamity of attempting to park. Zimride is an integral component of the University’s focus on sustainable transportation. This focus on sustainable transportation includes supporting public transportation, car sharing, ride matching, shuttle service, and bicycling to meet the mobility needs of students, faculty, and staff.
The launch of Zimride at the University of Utah is all thanks to a project by the graduate fellows of the Global Change and Sustainability Center, which was led by doctoral student Derek Jensen. The cohort received a grant from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, which is the University’s green grant program, to fund a three-year pilot of Zimride.
Currently, 390 users have signed up for Zimride, and the enrollment keeps rising. Sign up today and plan a trip for Fall Break!
Austin Holmes is a sustainability ambassador for the Sustainability Office.