Finding someone to share a ride just got much easier

RideShareLogo-01You might be surprised to find out the leading excuse people use to not share rides. They say they don’t know how to get connected. That could be changing with a new website geared to connect Iowans with car pools and van pools. uses technology to connect people coming and going to the same location. Bicycle, walking and transit buddies can also be matched using the secure website. This site is a service provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation and funded as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative.


Who can use Iowa Rideshare?

Brent Paulsen, with the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Transit says, “Iowa Rideshare is a way to connect more of us with people who are coming and going to the same place at the same times in order to reduce costs in gas, vehicle maintenance, and parking, as well as other benefits. It isn’t specific to one part of the state or one age group. It’s open to anyone.” 

How does the system work?

MM928_Iowa Rideshare Infographic_8.5x11Iowa Rideshare, designed by a company called RideShark, uses state-of the-art mapping technology to search for possible commute matches. Matches are displayed on an interactive Google map, allowing you to email potential matches. You can find matches for repetitive or single trips.

During the sign up process, you’ll create a trip profile with where and when you would like to share a ride. That trip profile information is entered into a database that searches for other commuters with similar commute routes and schedules. When searching for commute options, you will receive a list of van pools that may best fit your needs. Registering for an Iowa Rideshare account does not obligate you to use a vanpool or carpool, it simply provides you with options should you choose to use them.

Paulsen said, “The database is searchable, but since the service is new and people are just starting to sign up, finding a match might take a little time. The site will be adding new users as more people find out about it, but it will take some time to build up the database. Check back often because people are signing up all the time, so your options may have changed since last time you checked.”


Is the site secure?
Yes, Iowa Rideshare is a secure webpage. Additionally, home addresses are for administrative use only and will never appear on a match list. Email addresses are hidden, unless you choose to send an email, and phone numbers are not required. By default, people who match to your commute will only see your first name, commute preferences and the contact information you choose to share.  Paulsen said, “Our goal is to connect people, but do it in a safe, responsible way.

Who does the driving?

Recent tripsIn some car pools, each member takes turns driving their own vehicle, while in others there is only one driver. There is no hard and fast rule – it is totally dependent upon the individual circumstances of those in your carpool. Members work together to find what works for them and are responsible for setting up the parameters of their individual carpool.

Sign up for options to be a passenger only if you don’t have a vehicle for a car pool. You can also specify which days of the week for you to share a ride. If the first car pool or van pool you choose doesn’t work out, please check back for other options.

“The program is designed to be flexible,” said Paulsen. “We all have things come up from time to time. If you have a sick child or know you have to work late, all you need to do is let your car pool or van pool partners know as soon as possible.”

What if I’m already in a car pool or van pool or signed up with a regional ridesharing service?
“We are encouraging current car pool or van pool participants to create profiles in to help build the database in case circumstances change or you have an available spot,” said Paulsen. “If you’re using a regional ridesharing network, we are working with them to integrate all users into the statewide system. By working toward the same goal and having one place to connect, everyone will benefit.”

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