NIC announces new ride sharing program for students

It won’t solve the parking issue on North Idaho College’s campus. But it could help, while offering students companionship and helping them save money on gas.
NIC announced recently the start up of its new ride sharing program, initiated by the Associated Students of NIC (ASNIC).
“Our ultimate hope is that we can provide this service to students and they can save money on transportation, lower gas consumption and possibly even improve the parking crunch on campus,” said this year’s ASNIC President Josh Gittel.
ASNIC has always offered a ride share board that was displayed in NIC’s Edminster Student Union Building. Students would post available rides or ride wanted notices and wait for a response. The board was underutilized, according to NIC Director of Student Activities Dean Bennett, because students weren’t always aware of its availability and were often uncomfortable divulging personal information on a board “for all the world to see.”
That’s why ASNIC decided to sign on with AlterNetRides, a free web-based ride share program that helps link people looking to carpool. With NIC signed on as one of the dozens of colleges and universities participating in the ride share program, students looking to share their commute to or from school can view only those students from NIC seeking ride partners.
The system requires only a valid e-mail address to sign up. Although students accessing the program will enter information about themselves ranging from basic information such as where they are commuting to and from to preferences such as what type of music they listen to and if they prefer to drive, ride or share driving responsibilities.
The online system matches users with potential carpool partners and sends an e-mail to both participants when a match is found. Participants have the option to send a blind e-mail to one another to determine if indeed they would like to share a ride.
Personal information on users is never displayed or shared to other riders until the users themselves decide to give it out.
“The new system has greater protection of personal data,” Bennett said. “You don’t have to use your full name, contacts are made through e-mail, you don’t give out location information and it will allow you to check out your contact if you feel you need to. We recommend that students take all precautions necessary before revealing personal information.”
The system already has six participants signed up and Bennett said he expects more from throughout the area.
“With students all across the five northern counties of Idaho served by North Idaho College, the implications of this program could be huge if it can help link students that may drive a hundred miles roundtrip each day to campus from outlying areas,” Bennett said.
Ride sharing opportunities are not limited to school carpooling either. Some NIC students have already used the ride share program for recreational trips to area ski hills.
Students that participate in the program receive incentives such as a $10 discount on NIC’s Outdoor Pursuits trips or equipment rentals, a 10 percent discount on a day lift ticket at the Summit at Snoqualmie and a $5 discount coupon at area Jiffy Lubes.
Click here sign up.
Information: (208) 769-7761.

For More Information
NIC Student Activities Director Dean Bennett, (208) 769-3366

Posted: Friday, Dec. 9, 2005

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