Matchmaking for carpoolers adds comfort

September 10, 2009 12:31:42 AM PDT
If you've ever considered carpooling or ridesharing as a way to save time on the commute and money on gas, this will interest you. A lot of people are reluctant to share a car with strangers, but a Bay Area woman has found a way to make commuters more comfortable with the concept.

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There are commutes that can take hours. With gas prices and environmental concerns rising, some drivers choose to carpool or rideshare.

"I normally don't ride with people I don't know," says Dora Brown from San Jose.

The thought of getting into a car with a stranger didn't sit well with Donna Horne, either. That's why she created ZoomPool. It's an online rideshare service, but it doesn't just match destinations, it matches personality types and for a $15 fee, it does a background check on users.

"We check people's criminal background, check for things like sexual offenses, robberies, drunk driving, things that are certainly important as far as trusting the person you don't know," says ZoomPool CEO Donna Horne.

"That would be good because a lot of people you don't know who you're commuting with and I think in this time where people want to save money and commute, they also want to be safe," says Dora Brown, from San Jose.

Most rideshare opportunities are found online through Craigslist.org or 511.org, but the sites leave it up to commuters to ask personal questions and figure out compatibility.

On the blog for carpoolers, one commuter says she's petrified of ridesharing and wonders whether it's safe. Carl Shepherd shares those concerns. That's one reason he signed up for ZoomPool two weeks ago.

"It's a feeling of comfort really. You know, especially if you are a rider and someone else is at the wheel, it helps to make you feel at ease," says Carl Shepherd, a ZoomPool user.

Users are also required to give a drivers license number and proof of insurance.

LINK: www.zoompool.com

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