Zimride is the largest web-based ridesharing and carpooling network in North America, serving customers through a private network of more than 130 universities and corporate campuses, attracting more than 300,000 users. The company was founded in 2007 by Logan Green and John Zimmer, who’ve since gone on to create the on-demand transportation network company Lyft. Green and Zimmer started Zimride with the goal of making it easier for university students to carpool home during the holidays and on weekends. The audience eventually expanded to the general public in cities such as San Francisco and Austin, Texas. In 2013, Zimride was sold to Enterprise Holdings. At the time, Zimride offered public, as well private network use, of its services. In January, 2015, Enterprise announced that it was no longer taking Zimride reservations from the general public and, instead, was focusing on its core business of providing ride-matching services to university, business and governmental partners.
Zimride has definitely gone the extra mile in introducing the most convenient form of transportation for workers and college students. It has created a kind of 21st-century ride-sharing board that has huge potential not only in the US, but in many other foreign countries as well (where public transportation hasn’t been given much significance). The service is a lot cheaper than taking the bus where the ticket is usually about $40. Conversely, if you catch a ride with somebody, you only have to pay $10 to $15.
Additionally, Zimride also offers an application on Facebook, inviting users from different areas of a city to meet one another and share a car trip. The integration with Facebook, not only helps people obtain information regarding who they will be sharing their ride with, but it also establishes a level of trust that can promote friendship and socializing (something that has been lacking due to the amazing increase of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile technology).
Best part of all: the entire process of zimriding isn’t complicated at all! In seconds you can set up a profile, post a ride by entering your current location and destination and Zimride will generate a list of potential matches arranged by how far every person wants to travel following the same route (genius!). Users can also post a destination that they would like to go-to or travel-to sometime down the line and then receive alerts through Email or via Facebook notification when a match pops up. Zimride also does not charge for the following:
- Late rides
- Miles overages
Therefore, it gives the common man an opportunity to travel and explore places they have never seen before and that too with the companionship of a new friend! Generally, the service is offered free for 50 members per company network or school, but if the number of members crosses that threshold, Zimride will automatically seek out the network or school owner to pay a subscription fee to continue allowing its employees and students to use the service.
Consequently, Zimride offers the ultimate solution to parking congestion and office relocation. Additionally, it even provides unique benefits to students and employees, but it also reduces overall carbon footprint by lowering the amount of vehicles used for transport daily and promoting the use of extra seats in cars that are traveling every day.
Although Zimride has generated quite a huge reputation in just a few years, it does tend to have a few downsides that might scare some people away from using the service. First of all, Zimride charges universities and company networks a flat fee every year for the service if the number of members sharing a ride exceeds 50. While this flat fee model seems like a good idea, it generally makes the brand unresponsive and complacent to many users, as not everyone would be willing to pay a flat fee. There are also a number of services not included in the overall Zimride price, which includes:
- In-car customer care
- Toll tags
- Roadside assistance
Secondly, using Zimride is of course a great experience and one can meet and make many new friends through it, but it does prove to be a little dangerous. Now, why is that? Well, many people don’t have much information regarding the person who they are sharing a ride with (how much can a Facebook profile tell?). Consequently, there are many chances of theft or other dangers and countless safety concerns.
Thirdly, once two people begin sharing a ride regularly, they may actually stop using the Facebook app and communicate with each other through text messages or calls. This means, many repeat customers using the same route will probably reach out to each other without the app for future trips. This brings an interesting dilemma to the table, as if the service does get more successful due time, it could end up being removed from the transaction making it difficult to monetize customers.
Fourthly, there are many fake accounts on Facebook. Oftentimes, these accounts are hard to differ from original ones. Therefore, students or employees may socialize with someone else, but share a ride with a completely different person (whose intentions are unknown). Consequently, this raises many concerns for safety and could possibly lead to many negative experiences.
Therefore, although sharing a ride does prove to be a cost-effective decision, the efforts involved in developing points of trust between two people sharing a ride can get extremely frustrating; hence it may just prove to be more convenient for students or employees to just go along with the traditional public transportation.
Zimride is active 125 university campuses, has more than 350,000 active-users and operates in 65 US cities in total.
Creating a profile on Zimride is free and generally users are encouraged to list the amount they would like to pay for a ride. In Los Angeles, rates can be listed by day, week or month, and some rides are even offered free of charge.
Based on your destination you will be presented with a list matches, from which you can choose who to travel with.
Insurance policies vary by state and city. But generally since using Zimride is all about sharing rides, you are to use your own insurance policy.
Drivers are incredibly punctual and much of the wait time depends how long it takes for you to find a person to share a ride with.
Zimride generally link inter-city drivers with passengers. As such, they don’t have their own fleet of cars and use normal taxis to transport passengers.