A reformed ASSU shuttle service program aimed at students travelling home for winter break witnessed a surge in popularity in its first quarter of usage, assisting nearly three times the number of students as previous shuttle efforts.
This year was the first the program used RideGrouped, a student-run startup that aims to pair students travelling to the same destination at similar times through an online booking system. The service, intended to increase student accessibility at reduced costs, was used by 741 students during the 2012-13 winter break, compared to the approximately 250 students served during the previous winter break.
“I think we did really well,” said Jai Sajnani ’15, RideGrouped’s cofounder. “It’s a sizable jump.”
Though the significant increase in usage may have exceeded RideGrouped’s initial expectations, Sajnani downplayed any adverse consequences of the program’s increased popularity.
“We have very, very few problems [for] the amount of kids transported,” Sajnani said. “We only had problems with one shuttle … So overall, it went off pretty well.”
While expressing satisfaction with RideGrouped’s performance, Sajnani acknowledged the potential for further refinement of the program, including working on shuttle timing and developing a service to return students to campus from local airports.
“If we can get something for the return trip, I think that’d be amazing,” Sajnani said.
Efforts to provide such a service may be complicated, however, by the fact that students fly in from a wide range of locations.
“Coming back, you have to deal with flight delays, [cancelled flights], more problems on the airline end and also the problems of the size of the airport and having multiple pick-up locations,” Sajnani said.
While he has yet to speak with either the ASSU or University administrators with regards to RideGrouped’s future on campus, Sajnani expressed optimism about the service’s future and potential for expansion.
“Hopefully we can get to that soon,” he said. “We want to launch every time a large amount of students are travelling home. If we can work out a service for spring break and the summer holiday, that’s what we’d like to do.”