SGA introduces new Ride Share program

Laura Welch

The Villanova University Ride Share Bulletin Board became available for use through the University Web site last week. The service makes it simple for students to organize shared transportation.

SGA came up with the concept of the program while Technology Services carried out the program development. Initial discussions of creating an organized carpool system started last semester in an effort to make it easier and more efficient for students traveling to similar areas to contact each other.

The Concerns and Issues Department of SGA determined there was a need for a shared transportation service after an informal surveying of Villanova students last school year. Once SGA determined there was sufficient interest in the program they contacted Technology Services.

Cris Lawrence from UNIT oversaw the online development of the Ride Share Bulletin Board, working throughout the summer in order for the program to be ready during the first few weeks of this semester. UNIT stayed in regular contact with SGA this summer, sending them different versions of the program throughout its development so SGA was able to give their input and suggest changes until a final version was agreed upon.

Students can access the program by clicking on the link “Ride Share” under the Student Links section on the University’s home page. Students will then be prompted to read and accept the Ride Share user agreement before accessing the service with their secure Villanova login name and password.

“The only hang-up in developing the program were legal issues with offering rides and safety concerns,” said Dan Gelwicks, chair of SGA’s Concerns and Issues Committee. “Because of that, there is a disclaimer that you have to accept in order to use the site.”

Once students are logged in to the Ride Share Bulletin Board, they can post as many rides as they want or view rides already posted on a map. Students post trips by filling out a form that asks for their contact information, itinerary and other trip details. A student that has posted a ride can edit details of that trip or cancel it at anytime.

“The service is set up for anywhere across the country,” Gelwicks said. “You can use the Ride Share if you are trying to get to Genaurdi’s, trying to get home or trying to go to the airport … you can go on the site and try and find a ride or if you are going somewhere, you can post a ride and others can join in.”

Ride Share uses Google Maps to clearly display pin drops, which designate a trip to that location. Once a student clicks on a ride to a certain destination, a window containing details of the ride pops up on the screen.

Such details include whether or not the ride is round-trip, how many seats are available and expectations of compensation, such as gas money or shared driving responsibilities. If a student decides they want to carpool with someone who has listed a ride, they can find their contact information on the site as well.

Junior Dave Ederer was the first student to add a ride posting to the site. Ederer made the posting on Monday in an effort to find fellow students to share the ride home for fall break.

Before Ederer had a car on campus, he used to take the train to New York and fly home to Buffalo out of the Newark Airport. He is now hoping to make travel arrangements easier for other students who do not have a ride home by giving them a way to avoid the hassle of taking the train or buying an expensive flight.

“I thought [the Ride Share Program] was an awesome idea and a great way to help others out,” Ederer said. “I used to hate not having a ride home.”

Although Ederer did not have a car on campus his freshman year, he did have the opportunity to make the drive from Villanova to Buffalo during his sophomore year.

“When I drove home last year, I gave a girl from my Orientation group a ride to Syracuse,” Ederer said. “It made the ride go a lot smoother, and it was great having someone to talk to.”

Not only will the Ride Share Program potentially make trips home more enjoyable for students, it creates the opportunity for students to meet new people and make friends, while cutting expenses by splitting the cost of fuel and tolls.

Ederer is willing to pick up and drop off anyone who wants to go within a 40-mile radius of his route and has four extra spots available in his car, making it possible to cut down the cost of his trip by 80 percent.

While the Ride Share Program provides an easy way for students who wish to carpool to get in contact, cut down on expenses and have a potentially more pleasant trip home, ride sharing is also better for the environment.

“[The Ride Share Program] goes along with the University’s green initiative,” said Bryan Wagner, president of SGA. “If you are going somewhere, why not fill a car instead of taking five separate cars?”

Wagner stressed that the Ride Share service is also available to Villanova faculty and administrators who might want to carpool to work, as well as students. The more people who choose to utilize the program, the more beneficial the service will be to everyone.

“One of the main focuses of SGA is to really take this great product and get it out there so students can start using it, especially with fall break right around the corner,” Wagner said.

The SGA Concerns and Issues Committee has addressed student transportation needs in the past, including organizing shuttle services and talking with SEPTA in an effort to offer students discount rates.

“The Ride Share is another example of how students showed a want and need for this and SGA was able to take this concept, work with the right people and put it into effect,” Wagner said.

The quick turn around of the project, which was conceived just last semester, is another testament to SGA’s efforts to address student’s concerns.

“SGA this year is ready to go and looking forward to more projects to benefit the students,” Gelwicks said.