Rules of the road:

Follow these steps for a smooth Zimride experience

Bast is a senior journalism major and News Editor of The Spectator. She can be reached at [email protected] or @Katie_Bast.

Story by Katie Bast, News Editor

“Actually, I need you to drive me two hours out of your way and throw off your entire day and make you late for everything forever for the rest of time.”

So that’s probably not how my rider phrased it, but that’s what I heard.

The rider in question was one I met through Zimride. We left early one Friday and pre-arranged where everyone would be dropped off. About an hour from our destination, my rider decided she actually needed to be dropped off much farther from our pre-arranged spot. It normally wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but I had a dentist appointment and the detour would make me late.

So do I risk seeming inconsiderate to my riders or inconsiderate to my dental hygienist?

Zimride is a carpooling service provided by Enterprise and funded for UW-Eau Claire by Student Senate and the Eau Claire Parking and Transportation Office. It was useful for me as an underclassman when I didn’t have a car on campus, and it’s still useful to me now that I do. I was able to get inexpensive rides home then and now I can provide that same service to others and alleviate my gas bill.

As someone who has used Zimride as both a rider and a driver, I feel I have a unique perspective, and I try to be as accommodating as possible.

I’ve spent a little too much time sitting in mall food courts with my duffel bag so I try to make sure my riders can get as close to their destination as possible. But I can’t personally drop off everyone at their doorsteps.

Both parties need to be as understanding and cooperative as possible. Zimride’s website has a few etiquette tips, but here are a few thing I’ve learned as a rider and a driver that should help make Zimrides as smooth as possible.

Tips for being the best rider:
— Communicate with your driver. If you need to be dropped off somewhere at a certain time, make sure the driver knows that well enough in advance
— Don’t ask the driver to change their plans last-minute. This one’s obvious. Once the plans are made, don’t change them.
— Don’t haggle on price. I’ve had people ask if they can pay significantly less than what I ask. When I have a smaller number of riders, splitting costs means it’s going to be more per person.
Tips for being the best driver:
— Tame the road rage. When I’m driving down I-94 by myself, no one is safe from my wrath. People who don’t use blinkers, those who tailgate in the slow lane instead of going around, semi-trucks that cut you off — they’re privy to any number of profanity or sarcastic comments. But when you have strangers in your car,

— Don’t overcharge your riders. Just as riders shouldn’t give too little, drivers shouldn’t ask too much. $20 per way seems reasonable, but when you have three people paying $40 each it’s a little much. In my case, it takes about $40 to fill up my tank and one tank of gas to get to Madison and back. It’s not out of the question for drivers to ask for a little more than just gas money, but when I realized I was making three times more, I felt kind of bad. These are college kids too.

Zimride is definitely something Eau Claire students should be taking advantage of. By making sure riders and drivers alike are considerate, the whole process can be even more beneficial.