for Ithaca Blog
I went to Massachusetts and Maine this past weekend to visit friends and celebrate Easter. I carpooled to New England and back with a group of Cornell students. I posted an ad on Tuesday night at about 6:30pm on Cornell's "Student Ride Board" website (http://www.cuinfo.cornell.edu/Student/RideBoard/). By 7:30pm I had recieved two phone calls and two emails requesting seats in the car. Felix, my Jetta, only comfortably holds four total people. The two emailers were looking for roundtrip rides and the two callers were looking for one-way rides. It all worked out and by 7:30 the plan was set.
For the next two and a half days I received calls and emails requesting information on availability of seats. I had to say no to everyone else, but at one point, I thought about renting a 10 person van and taking everyone with me. I don't know if all of those other people ever made it to Boston this past weekend.
The Pros and Cons for the Ride Board:
- Pro: Helping the Environment by cutting down on number of cars
- Pro: Helping the Environment by filling a car instead of driving alone
- Pro: The passengers help to pay for gas, tolls, and other expenses the driver sets
- Pro: You have someone to talk to if you want, which might be better than driving alone
- Con: You might have to go slightly out of your way to pick people up in Ithaca (I had to drive 10 minutes to Collegetown and then back by my house - both on the way to Boston and on the way home. This added about 40 minutes to my total driving time).
- Con: You might have to go way out of your way to pick people up in Boston/DC/NYC/etc (I had to drive from Blackstone, Mass - near RI - to Newton to pick up the return riders. This added about 60 minutes or so to the trip home.
- Con: Your passengers might have to stop to go to the bathroom every hour (mine didn't)
- Con: Your passengers might talk on the phone for five hours (one of mine talked for about 30 minutes, but it was an entertaining conversation about college admissions)
- Pro: You leave on time. Usually when I travel by car and don't have a set departure I am 15 minutes to 3 hours behind as I rationalize about doing more work before going. Knowing that 3 perfectly good strangers are waiting helps you to be much more on time.
- Con: They might not like your music (though they might have an ipod)
- Pro: You might meet someone new!
Finally, the Student Ride Board group is its own community. I drove east with three people. One of them had been a rider with each of the other two - so they already knew a little bit about each other. It seems likely if you are going on a common ride (Boston, NYC, Philly or DC) you will probably get riders who know each other.
I didn't profit from the trip, but the gas and tolls were paid for. I told my friend Joe about the Ride Board and since he has an alternative fuel car he might be able to make a small profit on his longer distance trips from Ithaca.
Cornell's Ride Board: http://www.cuinfo.cornell.edu/Student/RideBoard/
Ithaca Craig's List Ride Board: http://ithaca.craigslist.org/rid/Details cross posted at Dryden is Home.