Start a Rideshare Campaign in Your Neighborhood
Using a rideshare rather than commuting or traveling alone can save you money, reduce traffic jams, and benefit the environment. These days, the Internet and smart phone technology are making it easier than ever to establish ridesharing campaigns in your neighborhood.
- Understand the benefits. In most populated areas there are cars and most people drive alone. That means that many seats in the cars are available for passengers. If people join to use these extra seats, fewer drivers end on the roads, saving money and gas, easing traffic congestion, and preserving environmental resources. Another positive factor working for ridesharing is that it is getting easier: more and more people have a smartphone with the ability to connect with other users and use the GPS to find people in the vicinity to join rideshares with ease.
- Be prepared for the difficulties. In many places, there is a long tradition of warning young people against hitch hiking with strangers. People also like the freedom of going in their own car and not being a burden to other people. These values work against starting up a ridesharing community, but it is still a more than feasible goal. After some time, people get used to it and it starts to be normal.
- Start recruiting people right away. Talk to your friends, coworkers, and neighbors about the possibility of ridesharing. Post to some local websites, forums, or classifieds. Gather interest in the campaign.
- Use smartphone technology. Look for an app that has users in your area or an app that you think has potential, start recruiting users and promote the ridesharing community.
- Focus on the logical rideshare flow. Get to know your area and find corridors where people are going the same way at approximately the same time. If you work in a business park, find a common area where many people live or pass by to work. There might be a public transport station where people can transfer to ridesharing. You can use Google Maps and the traffic option to see where there often are traffic jams and schedule or map routes to avoid them (change the time and see when it happens during the day and week).
- Find incentives. Are there any HOV lane (high occupancy vehicle) in the area? Are there reserved parking space for carpoolers? If three people carpool, the gas bill and toll road cost will be reduced to one third! Use these points to get people excited about ridesharing.
- Consider growing the campaign. If you want to go large, get financing and hire a project manager who can do the steps above in iteration and grow the user group. He or she can facilitate for a continued growth structure, where carpooling is not just benefiting those who drive together but also the other cars and public transport on the road and the overall community.