The University of Mississippi Department of Parking and Transportation has repeatedly made efforts to decrease heavy traffic flow on campus and offer ways for students to travel more easily with ride-share programs, bike-share programs, Zipcars and the Oxford-University Transit System.
Zimride, an Enterprise program, came to Ole Miss in 2011 with help from the Office of Sustainability. The ride-matching service allows students or faculty traveling to the same destination to connect with each other and share a ride. The purpose of the program is to encourage carpooling, but it also helps students without cars find rides when they need them.
Students and faculty sign up online at with an Ole Miss email address. Users can then offer or request rides and search for rides heading to a common destination.
Since 2011, there have been more than 1,800 active Zimride users on campus, a combination of both students and faculty. Hal Robinson, manager of transportation, said most rides are short, but there are occasional longer rides that students use as one-time deals.
“Rides vary from local commutes, often under 10 miles, to longer ‘one-time’ trips exceeding 350 miles,” Robinson said. “The average commute ride posted is about 26 miles, while one-time rides average about 164 miles.”
Logan Green, the co-founder and CEO of Lyft, was only 27 years old when he founded Zimride. His goal was to make Zimride a combination of a ride-share and social network for college students.
“College students are always looking for rides, and while other people have attempted to create ride-sharing sites online, they haven’t developed an identity,” Green said in an interview with Fast Company. “With Zimride, people can create a profile or connect via Facebook, talk about music and smoking preferences, and where they want to stop to get coffee in the morning.”
Zimride recently held a campus sweepstakes as part of a marketing campaign. Robinson said Zimride does this many times during the year to spark the interest of current and new riders.
“Zimride often hosts several sweepstakes each year, including another nationwide event coming up in November that is related to Thanksgiving,” Robinson said. “Our office will send out UM Today messages to help inform the university community about the program and the sweepstakes opportunity.”
Sophomore business major Quarles Agnew does not have a car at school and said she has used Zimride for traveling long distances.
“Zimride is super convenient because you can just sign up and find a ride going the same place you need to go,” Agnew said. “Not having a car here can cause an inconvenience when trying to go somewhere outside of Oxford, so it’s definitely nice to have options.”
Robinson said one difficulty with Zimride is getting students and faculty to give up the luxury of being in their own vehicles.
“It is very difficult to get today’s students and staff to give up that freedom of being in their own vehicle,” Robinson said. “On a small scale, two people sharing a ride cuts their expenses in half. For every commuting pair that rides together, a vehicle is removed from the roads and the parking lots. Ride-sharing, when utilized, can significantly affect both parking and traffic.”