Regrettably, the Zimride service that was discussed in the original post below has recently ceased operations for the general public. An update on their home page states, “Zimride by Enterprise has made a strategic decision to focus on its core business of providing ride-matching services to our university and business partners. Zimride is no longer taking reservations for the general public.”
Potential replacements include Coride and Tripda. However, these appear to be strictly individual-to-individual applications, with none of Zimride’s functionality for creating group events. If you use them, you are certainly free to share the particulars in our discussion forums or on the Facebook group page, but only in conformity with our Terms of Service.
THE NEED FOR RIDE SHARING
I have been able to arrange a good deal of time off in August and September, and will be heading for the hills almost every weekend after we get a good rainfall or two, as well as some single-day midweek speed runs to the Mogollon Rim when possible. I’ll usually have space to spare in my truck for anyone who wants to ride along, and I’m sure other mushroomers would also be interested in either driving or riding along with a car pool for similar impromptu events.
Ride sharing is greener, cheaper, and (at least for most of us) more fun than driving and hunting solo. Foraging with a buddy or two is safer than going off in the woods by yourself, and with modern technology, the shared ride can be made pretty safe as well.
With this in mind, it’s clear that the Arizona mushrooming community needs a mechanism for people to make ride sharing connections for this purpose. And now we do. Read on….
Today we are pleased to announce the creation of an Arizona Mushroom Forum ride-sharing board on Zimride.com. This application is already in use with good success by a lot of organizations around the country, including the Mycological Society of San Francisco. (Read their FAQ on the Zimride system for their club members, or watch a video demo of how the Zimride system works.)
WHY USE ZIMRIDE?
- It is a proven, robustly supported commercial application;
- It links to your Facebook account so that prospective riders or drivers can check out your social network prior to getting in the car with you, and allows you to request your Facebook friends to vouch for your honesty;
- It stores the destinations of scheduled events, and uses Google Maps to calculate your route, driving expenses, and a breakdown of costs for each rider and the driver;
- It facilitates secure payment of expenses to drivers via Paypal;
- It keeps contact information confidential, but makes it easy for drivers and passengers to send messages to each other through the service before the trip is booked;
- It allows drivers and passengers to review each other and give each other ratings of one to five stars, to help future carpoolers decide whether to connect with them.
- It is much easier to use than any alternative. There is no need for emailing the event organizer to find out who is going and wants to carpool, then getting the emails of other club members who may be going on the same field trip, then emailing those members, then waiting for them to get back to you and arranging the details one email at a time.
- It’s free of charge to the user!
WHERE CAN I GO?
Each major event of interest to Arizona mushroomers, such as the Flagstaff Mushroom Festival, Telluride Shroomfest, and every group foray organized by the Arizona Mushroom Club, will have an entry on the pulldown menu on the Mushroom Forum’s ride share board. Links to each of these important events will also be individually placed on the Arizona Mushroom Forum event calendar. Please note that none of the organizations mentioned have any connection to this Ride Share board. It is purely a community service provided with no formal sponsorship.
It is also possible to create custom events of your own for informal forays, choosing any destination and date as you see fit, but they will not appear by default on the main Arizona Mushroom Forum event board. If you would like your trip to appear on the main AMF board, you can request that it be added.
Once you have logged in and selected a scheduled travel event, or created your own impromptu event, you will want to come back here and publicize it to your fellow readers and club members. A Fungal Forays section that you can use for this purpose has been set up in the discussion forums on this website. Copy the link from the Zimride event and post it in the forum. You can also post your link in the Arizona Mushroom Forum Facebook group or your own social-media pages to cast your net even wider, if you desire.
If you’re a holdout who has no Facebook account, you unfortunately won’t be able to sign up for Zimride. You are welcome to use the Fungal Forays forum and/or the Facebook group to make your own informal connections for ride sharing, but only subject to the warnings and disclaimers listed above.
Like any group effort, a carpool requires courtesy and cooperation to keep things running smoothly. Whether you are behind the wheel or just along for the ride, good etiquette is essential to keep your carpool group running smoothly. Good etiquette takes into account communication, courtesy and the safety of everyone in the carpool. It is recommended that each carpool member should have a chance to express his/her needs and concerns. Some general carpool etiquette tips are listed below for your consideration:
- Be on time.
- Communicate with your fellow carpoolers.
- Drive safely at all times.
- Keep your vehicle clean and in good condition.
- Respect any restrictions the carpool has agreed on, such as smoking, eating or drinking.
- Avoid wearing products with strong scents.
- Carry through with your commitments.
- Request changes to the schedule sparingly.
- Make a habit of being late.
- Ask your carpoolers to make extra stops along the way so you can take care of personal errands. The carpool is meant to help everyone with his or her ride to the event, period.
- Bring up controversial topics like religion or politics unless previously agreed by all carpoolers to be acceptable topics of conversation.
- Have lengthy cell phone conversations while you’re in the carpool.
We expect this system will work well to facilitate getting all our interested readers out in the woods and picking those mushrooms. If you have any concerns or difficulties with this system, please get in touch.