TRU Rideshare program still trying to fill seats

Getting a sense of what sharing a ride would really be like, and it has some appeal. (Jared MacArthur/The Omega)

Getting a sense of what sharing a ride would really be like, and it has some appeal. (Jared MacArthur/The Omega)

The TRU Rideshare program is going is pushing for registration numbers in order to get the program up and running. In response to the need for an transportation alternative and the decommissioning of the TRU Carpooling programs, the TRU Rideshare network brings students, faculty, staff and alumni together around a common interest for alternative transportation.

Brandon Dallamore works in the department of facilities and services at the university, and is currently running the TRU Rideshare program.

“Carpooling parking spots don’t exist anymore, and that was because, largely, we couldn’t regulate it. So, people would come in with their roommates and sign-up, and then after that we would just see them coming in on their own.”

Because the stalls couldn’t be monitored all the time, Dallamore said it was easier to just get rid of them altogether.

“We had quite a good success when we first launched this last spring, but then we had some technical issue around emails and we had to step back,” said James Gordon, environmental programs and research coordinator with TRU’s sustainability department. “We had to pull back and now we’re restarting the whole thing.”

Dallamore said the platform being used for the new TRU Rideshare is one that universities across Canada are using with great success, a platform recommended by TRUSU.

A TRUSU parking survey revealed there was concern around the issue of parking and carpooling, Dallamore said. In response TRU facilities started using the “Ride Shark” platform to make carpooling more accessible for students, faculty and staff by getting the system online.

The structure of the program is similar to that of an Uber account, where personalized member accounts match members schedules and locations with other members registered with TRU Rideshare.

Accounts can be made from a computer or phone and individuals can set up rides to pretty much any destination, not just to and from campus. For example, if someone was trying to get to Sun Peaks for the day, using TRU Rideshare can help them connect with someone making the same trip and travel together.

In order to register an account, members must be associated with the university in some way, which Dallamore believes brings a level of security to the platform, unlike Kijiji or
Facebook forums that offer similar carpooling opportunities.

The benefits, Dallamore says, are more than just economic and he believes there is also a great social aspect to the carpooling initiative, that connects TRU students, staff, faculty and alumni in the Kamloops area.

But, without the registration process, the system is not as efficient and those connections aren’t going to be made. The program, in order to really reveal its benefits, needs to reach a certain “critical mass” in order to frequently match registered members with each other.

“You need that critical mass so that there’s lots of options for rides. You know if there’s only a dozen people and there is no one going in the direction you’re going, then you’re out of luck,” Gordon said.

Students interested in signing up can visit the TRU Rideshare website.