ZIMRIDE: A SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS STORY

By Ted Janusz

o you or some of your

commutes? Social media has placed a different twist on the concept of ridesharing. Usingafamiliartool such as Facebook in conjunction with arelativelynewwebsiie called zimride, drivers can easily hook up with other commuters who are looking for a ride' The service has more than 350,000 users and programs onl2luniversity campuses.

parkingpatrons make long lonely, and expensive daily

How Zimride Started
Logan Green, co-founder of Zimrjde, wanted to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles but didn,t have a car, so he took to sharing rides. He used Craiglist,s ride boards to solicit those rides, but was often anxious because he did not know the passenger or driver. On the other side of the country, John Zimmer was inspired by his car,s empty seats during his regular commute from upstate New york to New york City. Zimmer and Green met through a mutual friend and got to know each other on Facebook. The name ofthe company they started is inspired by Zimbabwe, where Green noticed locals developing a grassroots public transportation system.

Zimride may connect people who work at the same company, attend the
same school, or have mutualfriends 0n Faccbook. ln making that

initial

connection, the system reduces the anxiety of ridesharing with a stranger.
program for carpooling or ridesharing until Zimride,,, explains Julie Ellen Nortl-r, director of parking and transportation. "I think we have done pretty well.,, "Zimride helped me find a group of people who have been carpoolingfor over six months,,, says Bridget (1ast name withheld), amember of the ISU staff. ,,Four of us
a day. We are carpooling five days a week for a total of 250 miles. We alternate drivers, which means we each have to drive only one week each month. On weeks I don,t drive, I am able to

How ltWorks
Users access Zimride through their Facebook accounts and develop profiles on the Zimride system. When a driver posts available seats in his or her car
TED JANUSZ is a

now meet and carpool 50 miles

alongwith driving

professional speaker on the topic of

"Social Media for
Baby Boomers," author, and marketinq consultant. He is the author of the Socr,a/ Media Marketing
Guide for Parking

habits such as smoking and musical tastes, potential passengers can find a match. Zimride may connect peopie who work at the same company, attend the same school, or have mutuai friends on Facebook. By making that initial connection, the system reduces the anxiety
of

reduce my fuel use by nine and a half gallons, so I see a savings of approximat ely $22."
At the end of December 2012, the Illinois State Zimride program had 476 users and 356 ride posts. These posts consisted of 127 commutes and 229 one-time rides. Illinois State has estimated a fuei savings for their community

ridesharingwith

a

stranger.

University Zimride programs
Washington State University (WSU) has posted nearly 3.5 million miles on its program, which requires participants to have a university email address. "Zimride is a fun and easy way to share the seats in your car or catch a ride,,,the WSU Zimrid,ewebsite

of 5,545 galions.
The benefits ofa Zimride program can be even greater

Professionals,which is a free publication for IPI members and
can be downloaded from parking.org/ socialmediaguide.
He can be reached at ted@ ntspresentatinrrs.

ja

explains. "With Zimride, you can find WSU friends, classmates, and coworkers going the same way you are. WSU Zimride helps you offer or request rides for commutes, road trips, and popular events.', Illinois State University implemented a Zimride

than just financial or environmental, and their social media campaign makes the most of that. .,Zimride is most helpful on more than one count,,, says Shirley (last name withheld), another ISU staffmember. .,Initially,

I am simply thrilled to be able to conserve gas on road trips to work. Secondly, I am riding with an amazing
woman! Thanks ISUI,,
Julie North says, ,,I commute about 60 miles a day and I was fortunate to Zimride with a student duringspring semester of lastyear. Our motto is ,Roll With Us.,,, O

cnm or 614.440.7487.

program in2Ol2. The university "did not have any
NOVTVATn zors

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