By Lauren Jost, C2M Contributor

In addition to the new faculty and staff carpool and fuel-efficient parking programs, George Mason University is introducing a new eco-friendly way to commute to campus: ride-sharing.

The program, called Zimride, is similar to a former car-sharing program at Mason called Zipcar — used to provide driving plans and cars for university drivers over 21 years of age.

But what’s the difference?

According to Transportation Coordinator Bob Tennant, Zimride only provides rides, not cars.

“Zimride is simply a ride sharing program where riders log onto the website, post their rides or requests, and Zimride helps match with rides posted,” said Tennant. “This will work for regular commutes as will as single rides — to a concert, or home, wherever home is. Only people with a address can access this unique site, and [they] will be matched with someone from the Mason community.”

In short, what Zimride does is connect drivers who commute to the Fairfax campus from various areas, including but not limited to Falls Church, Manassas Park and Arlington.

Zimride is the largest dedicated carpool technology company in North America with over 300,000 users and has created carpool communities for over 40 of the nation’s most established universities.

From its website, Zimride shares quotes from people who think Zimride is beneficial. “Ride-sharing software is not new, but Zimride is one of the first to capture the imagination of young adults wanting to make a difference and save money along the way,” said Ron Yoder, web communications director at Eastern Kentucky University.

A former Cornell student and current Cornell faculty member, Corey Earle, said, “Zimride is fantastic for students and faculty. It is a simple and intuitive system that is fun to use while at the same time allowing for a higher level of trust.”

Users sign up and input their commuting addresses and departure times into Zimride’s website and can view others commuting from the same area. Historically, some drivers request a weekly commuting fee.

To disperse some people’s concerns of riding in cars with strangers, Zimride users have a chance to connect with one another on the Zimride Facebook group in order to get to know each other before jumping into a commuting relationship.

Some Mason students shared their doubts.

Transfer student Stephanie Webber, a former student at Ohio State where a similar car-sharing program was implemented, says the program was shut down.

“It was not very popular,” said Webber. “All of the housing in Columbus was within walking distance from campus or connected by a shuttle. I never saw any ads.”

“I think there are plenty of transportation methods available already,” said foreign languages major Braden Cohen. “Although, I’ve never been without a car while at Mason.”

According to a Mason press release regarding the implementation of Zipride, “This partnership marks a significant step in improving campus sustainability practices. Furthermore, ridesharing on your daily commute or on longer one-time trips will substantially reduce the costs of travel for our community.”

The service began last week, and can be accessed online at