The Hitchhiker's Guide To Zimride

OK, so I’m not a hitchhiker, (and that is NOT my car!) but I have been known to give rides to strangers. And even a stretch Hummer can save CO2 with Zimride. So perhaps this is more “The Pilot’s Guide to Passengers.” I found out about Zimride at the Opportunity Green Conference they co-sponsored. People spoke very highly of the ride share service, so I looked into it. As a driver, I created a profile and posted a ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. I’ve since used Zimride for two other trips to San Francisco, and love it. The site even shows on my profile how much CO2 I’ve saved- 2,920 lbs! Not bad for an SUV that averages 18MPG.

Zimride Tips:

  • Many Zimride passengers are making last-minute travel plans, so expect to get your riders in the last day or so before departure. Be open to frequent back and forth to settle logistics.
  • Schedule to and from as separate rides because people often want to return on different days than you do.
  • The Zimride algorithm will suggest rides that don’t work, like to when you’re heading from, but just read carefully to be sure they’re a good match, then contact potential passengers.
  • Some may try to pay cash, but I insist on paying through the site to keep it all legit. That way, if they flake out, they’ve already paid.
  • The cool thing about having a car full of strangers is that I’m on my best behavior. I’m much more polite in the presence of strangers than alone or with close friends. It dials the “aggro psycho driver from Hell” down to “calmly fast”.

My favorite aspect of Zimride is having other people drive, as I’ve had more than my share of speeding tickets. The passengers who’ve volunteered to drive have all been great drivers. I would never try to force someone to drive. My favorite passenger/drivers were a Valet (a pro!) and a quiet young lady who surprised us all with her fast, aggressive driving!

I’ve met only nice people on the five trips I’ve had passengers, and will likely continue taking the car instead of the motorcycle for long trips, if for no reason other than to avoid more speeding tickets. And at $40/passenger between LA & SF, it’s more than enough to cover the cost of gas. Zimride also encourages people to use it for shorter rides, so perhaps you could be making money on your drive to/from work each day! I’ve been craving a getaway to Marfa, TX and the money I make with Zimride could cover gas AND hotel, who knows?

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.