Interest in Rideshare program not yet hit by high gas prices

Bill Nachman - Posted on May 25, 2011 - 03:44 PM

When gasoline prices soared a few years back, the local Rideshare program received a lot of new inquiries.

But the recent hike in gasoline prices has not yet brought a lot of extra interest in the cost-saving program, said Beth Johnson, Rideshare program manager for the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission.

Johnson said May 13 that she has had a few new requests for Rideshare services in recent weeks, but certainly not as many as several years ago. Rideshare tries to match persons traveling to a similar destination, often close to their places of employment.

Rideshare can work in several ways, with the most common being persons in the shared ride arrangement alternating days or weeks when they drive. In other cases, passengers pay a fee negotiated with the driver for transportation on a regular basis.

Local Rideshare services are not set up for occasional rides, such as to the movies or shopping, Johnson said, but rather are for multiple trips to the same location each week.

The state is investigating new software, Johnson said, which links services in one geographic area to those in another. In that way, someone from the Middle Peninsula trying to get to Char-
lottesville, for example, might locate a suitable shared ride by searching through a unified database covering multiple areas.

Participants in Rideshare save money, Johnson said, as well as reap environmental benefits by saving on fuel and cutting down on the number of vehicles on the road.

About 115 people are in the local rideshare file now, Johnson said, but she is not certain how many of them are currently sharing rides.