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No car? Not to worry

Students use resources to their advantange when it comes to hitching a ride home

By Gretchen Zishka
On November 17, 2010

You have to get home for the weekend, but you have no car and Wisconsin isn't like Europe where you can just take a train anywhere. So what do you do? You get creative with various ride-sharing programs, from simple to high-tech.

Visible options for finding rides to various places from UW-La Crosse are the "ride boards" posted in Whitney and Cartwright Centers.

These boards have two sides; one for drivers and one for riders. People can fill out slips with their destination, contact information, how many people they can take or in the case of riders, if they'll help pay for gas, and when they plan to leave.

The slips are then put on hooks on the drivers' or riders' side, and by looking at the different destinations and plans, students hope to find someone going to the same place.

With rides, as with anything else, your experience depends largely on the kind of person you're traveling with.

Another more advanced option is the Facebook application Zimride, which works by having users input their name, location and destination. It then shows all people using the application within 50 miles of your location and your destination.

Zimride's advantages include being able to see the person's Facebook profile and contact them through Facebook before deciding to ride with them.

"The application lets you can see if they're a scary person and if you want to ride with them," user Allie Morgen said. Morgen likes that the technology helps remove the uncertainty factor of sharing a ride with a stranger.

Zimride also aims to reduce overall emissions by putting fewer cars on the road.

"For too long, we have driven our cars with empty seats," the application says.

Zimride is also on Twitter, adding another form of social media through which students can find rides.

Freshman Chuck Snyder said, "The ride board works well, but Zimride is easier."

Other Web sites with the same purpose are available, including Ridester and Rideshare, used not only for trips but also for daily commutes and shorter rides.

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