Writing Samples

Start the new year with a new way of commuting

RideShare website upgrades make it easier to find someone to share the ride with

Need to find ways to stretch a tight budget further in 2012? Take a look at your commute to work. Transportation costs are the second-largest expense for most households, and while commuters can’t change the price of gas, they can control how much they drive. Many people may be surprised to find that with a little extra planning, alternatives like carpooling, riding the bus or bicycling can work for them — if only occasionally — and rack up significant savings.

RideShare Connection (www.ridesharekc.org) is an online tool that helps commuters in Greater Kansas City and St. Joseph find alternatives to driving alone. Users can create free, secure accounts to search for carpool, vanpool, bicycle or bus partners based on their starting and destination points, work hours and preferences. The site can also help people track commute trips and monitor their savings. And participants can sign up for Guaranteed Ride Home service to access a free taxi ride home in case of emergency.

RideShare Connection’s recent website upgrade resulted in a number of helpful new features for users:

  • The option to set more than one commute profile to accommodate varying daily schedules
  • The ability to change suggested routes on one’s ride-match map (generated by Google Maps)
  • Links to Google transit and bicycle trip planning from one’s commute profile
  • Integration with Facebook and LinkedIn social networking sites
  • The ability to look for ride matches for events, such as First Fridays (set up by request)

“People have become much more comfortable connecting online through technology,” said RideShare Program Manager Marge Gasnick. “RideShare Connection now makes it easier for commuters to find ride matches by interfacing with popular social networks. The new system is also more flexible, allowing people to better tailor their profiles and searches to meet their needs.”

Employers are also increasingly concerned with how their employees get to work. Commuting costs and access to reliable transportation can affect retention and recruitment. RideShare Connection offers an employer module, which allows companies to manage a free carpool-matching website with custom content for their employees. Subscribers can find ridesharing opportunities at the company or within the larger regional carpool-matching database. And the site’s reporting tool helps companies monitor alternative transportation use, miles of driving saved, and reductions in harmful emissions. Employers who would like to offer this service to employees should contact RideShare at 816-842-7433 for more information.

The RideShare Connection website is a partnership between the Mid-America Regional Council’s RideShare Program and St. Joseph, Mo. It is based on award-winning Greenride Connect software developed by Ecology and Environment, Inc.

RideShare is a publicly funded commuter-matching service for anyone who lives, works or attends school in the Greater Kansas City area. The service informs people about less expensive and environmentally friendly commuting alternatives. RideShare also helps employers develop alternative transportation programs. For more information, call 816-842-RIDE (7433) or visit www.marc.org/rideshare.

# # #

Mid-America Regional Council news release
January 2012

Comments are closed.