HITCH A RIDE AT THE U

By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, campus engagement coordinator for the Sustainability Office

The University of Utah is excited to introduce a new partnership with Zimride by Enterprise as an alternative transportation option on campus.

Zimride, a service of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, is an online ride-matching service that leverages the power of social media. By integrating with Facebook, Zimride connects drivers and passengers within a private University of Utah network heading to the same area. It is free for students, faculty and staff to join the network and begin searching for matches or posting rides of their own.

Zimride provides students with an easy way to travel to campus, run errands, take weekend trips or go home on school breaks by sharing a ride with another student. Students can share the expense of the trip, and also reduce traffic, air pollution and parking congestion by riding together.

Faculty and staff members can save time, money and stress on their daily commute to campus by using Zimride to form a carpool. The innovative search feature allows users to post their commute, including arrival and departure times, to find matches in the network.

Here’s how it works:

  • The University of Utah program is available only to students, faculty and staff. Members of the campus community interested in using Zimride must have a University of Utah uNID to sign up.
  • In just a few seconds on zimride.com/utah, drivers and passengers can set up a profile, search for open seats or post their ride and destination safely and securely.
  • The platform’s unique approach to ride-matching allows members to link their profile to their Facebook page.

Zimride’s launch at the U is the result of a project by the graduate fellows of the Global Change & Sustainability Center. Led by doctoral student Derek Jensen, the 2013-14 cohort received a grant from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, the U’s green grant program, to fund a three-year pilot of Zimride.

“In the Salt Lake Valley, our air quality is greatly influenced by individual driving habits,” Jensen said. “Ride-matching programs like Zimride give the University of Utah the opportunity to change transportation habits by offering hassle-free carpooling that will reduce emissions and allow the university to lead on reducing air pollution.”

Zimride is part of the university’s focus on sustainable transportation, which supports public transportation, car sharing, ride matching, shuttle service and bicycling to meet the mobility needs of students, faculty and staff. Zimride will help reduce the U’s commuting emissions and is among the recommendations from the U’s Air Quality Task Force to help the university take the lead on fighting air pollution, said the U’s Chief Sustainability Officer Amy Wildermuth.

“Only a small percentage of students live on campus, and Salt Lake City is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country,” Wildermuth said. “By introducing Zimride, a program that has been successful at more than 100 institutions, the university can make a positive contribution to air quality issues and provide an enjoyable and reliable way to ride together.”

In addition to offering Zimride on campus, Enterprise Rent-A-Car provides its car-sharing service – Enterprise CarShare – to University of Utah students and faculty, as well as residents and local businesses in Salt Lake City and Wasatch Front. When Enterprise CarShare launched in Salt Lake City in 2013, the area became the seventh major U.S. market to offer the service. Today, Enterprise CarShare is available in more than 35 U.S. states, Canada and the U.K., on more than 100 university campuses and through 40 dedicated government and business accounts.