Thursday, May 29, 2008

Northern Michigan's Online Ride Board

I have had a great car pool arrangement for the past few months, riding about three days a week with a guy who doesn't like to ride in other people's cars and would rather have homemade bread than gas money. Unfortunately, Joel has decided to move out west and gave his two weeks notice last week. Everyone at work is thinking about alternate transportation ideas, so I thought I might as well talk about the Northern Michigan Transportation Alliance online ride board.

This is an online version of those old college bulletin boards where people posted where they we going and whether they needed a ride or wanted someone to share the gas. It is well planned as a website; you can enter your start point and destination, your schedule, specify smoking or non. It is under utilized and under publicized. Probably it needs a block of people, like me and my coworkers, to move in and be the first adopters.

The site has the shortest user's agreement I've ever seen; unfortunately if you read the user agreement, there is no button to get you back to the registration page -- I had to start all over again. The site uses Google Maps; don't skip the street address or mapping part or you'll lose all your schedule input when it tells you to resubmit. It's also hard to figure out when you've completed the process of posting a ride. I ended up pushing submit three times before I gave up and went to see if my offer was posted. I was sure to put an end date since some of the rides showing now have been there for a couple of months.

I don't know if I'll get a new carpool out of this, but it's worth a try. The site needs much more advertisement and use.

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