As the spring 2016 semester at California State University, Northridge is in its early stages, students living off campus are still in the adaptation phase of timing their travels to class, including finding a parking spot. That adjustment can take some time, but Associated Students hopes that its new program will add another option for students looking for an alternative.
Over the course of the past few weeks, a new ridesharing program called Zimride has been introduced to the campus community. The program was started by a group of college students on the East Coast who were frustrated by the lack of commuting services available to them. Those students created Zimride to afford people a safer and more sustainable way of traveling to and from campus.
Students can sign up for the service with ease, as Manager of Supporting Services for AS Ken Premo described. It starts with visiting the website www.zimride.com/csun.
“It will prompt them to input their CSUN ID and password, which verifies them through the portal, and it fills in a lot of their information already,” Premo said. “The only thing they need to put in is where they’re starting from, where they want to end, how often and what times.”
After that, the system will match up with students with similar criteria, and then send the pair an email prompting them to connect on Facebook. Students can message one another over Facebook to talk about preferences they have while driving to campus, and when they would like to start riding together.
Already present on West Coast campuses such as UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC, the program was brought to the attention of AS by the Sustainability Committee a few years ago, and after years of planning, officials at CSUN are hoping that this program will help alleviate the stress that single-driver vehicles have on parking and traffic.
AS President Jorge Reyes hopes that the new service will lead to more interaction between students who normally wouldn’t know one another.
“I hope students are able to get a ride from one another and at the same time meet more CSUN students and develop a stronger sense of community,” Reyes said. “The great thing about Zimride is that we have adjusted it to be only used by CSUN students through the use of CSUN emails so it’s only for students.”
Premo also expressed how pleased he was with the flexibility Zimride affords students with their time.
“We have a tremendous number of students who use public transit systems, such as bus lines, but the bus lines don’t run as late as classes go; especially after 7 p.m., their service becomes really spotty,” Premo said. “CSUN has classes until 10 p.m., so I’m hoping students can find another alternative that fits their schedules better, and that alternative is Zimride.”
An alternate use for the service that students have discovered is that even though it was created primarily for ridesharing to campus, it can also be used as something of a travel service. Students have used the program to find inexpensive ways to go home to see their families during the holidays, or even for weekend getaways during the semester.
Zimride could be the answer for a lot of students who are looking for a different option to driving alone to campus. They can give up the wheel, share the ride and lower their stress level.
“It is important that students hear about this program and use it because it will lower the number of cars parking on campus and it is also a great sustainable practice,” Reyes said.