Zimride Ridesharing Proposed to Alleviate Parking Issues

With 1,774 spots available for students in the parking structures on campus and 3,558 parking permits sold by the Bursar's Office, the parking problem has shown its ugly face for another semester.

Even with the extra 1,415 spots made available with the addition of the satellite campus parking lots, people are still finding a spot at Santa Monica College to be an ongoing pain.

"A lot of people have problems with parking, and the community itself is fed up with traffic," said Cameron Henton, Associated Student's President.

To solve the problems facing frustrated student commuters, Associated Students is looking to offer an alternative to the present parking situation. AS in the process of finalizing plans to add SMC to the list of colleges promoting Zimride rideshare for students.

On Thursday, Feb. 11 John Zimmer, founder and COO of Zimride, approached the AS during their Board of Directors meeting and proposed that SMC implement Zimride as a program that they believe will make getting to school easier, faster and even more fun for students.

Zimride is an online rideshare service that allows for commuters to make a profile and plan to carpool with fellow commuters who are going their way.

The program can be accessed for free by anyone who chooses to register with their name and e-mail but the AS has chosen to promote Zimride to the community of SMC and for this endorsement they must pay.

The AS would be obliged to implement the campus edition of Zimride, a web interface developed especially for school ride-sharing, and a login for students would be required. Zimride says that this online system is safer for SMC students, ensuring that they are matched solely with students from their school rather than anyone who just happens to be traveling to Santa Monica.

The AS would pay $10,450 for initial installation and marketing, and $9,500 every year thereafter to keep the program running. Henton stated that the AS is proposing that SMC split the cost with the AS, as the program will also be available for faculty.

Zimmer says that over 40 other colleges, including UCLA and USC, have had success with the program. Zimmer says that over 3,000 have already signed up for Zimride at UCLA, boding well for SMC, primarily a commuter school.

Students will access Zimride through the AS Web site with their school e-mail and be prompted to make a profile that includes pictures, music preference, and preferred method of payment.

The program gives students the chance to meet new friends while also saving money and helping the environment.

Zimmer said that a USC student was able to split the cost of gas and parking with other students for one year and saved nearly $1,000 in transportation costs. Students at SMC could split the $85 parking permit fee as well as gas expenses.

Before the decision is finalized, the AS is seeking the advice of SMC's legal council to ensure that there is no problem with liability. The final decision of whether AS will support Zimride will be made by the end of March.  

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