ZimRide, a ride-hailing service by Enterprise similar to Lyft and Uber, was approved by the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) of the University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS) on Wednesday afternoon.
The program will be sent to Associated Students, Inc.’s (ASI) Board of Directors for final confirmation before being negotiated for purchase and finally released in time for the upcoming fall semester.
ZimRide is a service used by CSU Long Beach and among the UC system in universities such as UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. UTAPS hopes to “piggyback” on another university’s contract for the best price, which should be “fairly minimal” according to UTAPS director Tony Lucas.
The app would allow Sacramento State students to connect with their peers to find a ride to campus.
UTAPS hopes students will use the service to ease congestion caused by limited on-campus parking and a surge of incoming students during the fall semester.
“The more students ride-share, the more traffic we avoid,” Lucas said. “It’s socially responsible and it’ll get Sac State into the future.”
Currently, UTAPS offers a similar service, Sacramento Commuter Club, to provide students the opportunity to find a carpool partner.
However, students tend to not use the website, Lucas said.
Lucas hopes students will be more interested and prone to use ZimRide due to its app-like features.
“I wanted a ride-share app I thought students would actually use,” Lucas said.
Incentives might also play a role in helping students be more interested in ride-hailing, an idea Lucas said he is considering. ZimRide keeps statistics on how often its users carpool, which would provide UTAPS with usage information and could then be used for making incentives such as the cheaper parking or priority parking currently used by carpoolers.
While ZimRide doesn’t have an app of its own, only a mobile-friendly site, there are plans for UTAPS to work with Information Resources & Technology (IRT) to include a link to ZimRide’s website on the Sac State app.
Despite ZimRide not having its own app like Rydite or RideAmigos — the other contenders to be Sac State’s ride-hailing service — TAC student representative Collin Kemp said ZimRide is better for students due to the ease of figuring out prices for rides and safety.
ZimRide recommends a price for the ride based on the type of car and miles travelled, which can be used or changed by the driver’s preferences, unlike competing apps that set up a group chat. Kemp believes that the group chat might cause tensions to run high in price negotiations.
As for safety, Kemp believes that ZimRide is the safest due to its compatibility with SacLink.
“(ZimRide is) more secure than the other apps — there’s 100 percent certainty that the other person is a Sac State student,” Kemp said.
By being a member of the Sac State community, Lucas said the driver and rider gain credibility. However, Lucas warned that there is a risk associated with getting into a car with another person and advised students to be “good shopper(s).”
Kemp said he hopes ZimRide will help reduce traffic and parking problems on campus and help the environment while giving students a chance to socialize and meet new students from Sac State.
“(The app) would cut carbon emissions (and cost) in half (and) lessen congestion,” Kemp said. “I think ZimRide is a step in the right direction to preventing the problems associated with being a commuter campus.”