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Local News / Business

Friday, 5 June, 2009 12:03 PM

CarBuddy.com rolls out new carpooling service for southeast Michigan

Screenshot of www.carbuddy.com

A snapshot of the CarBuddy.com web site.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- CarBuddy.com has unveiled a new carpooling service that takes the headache of finding a partner to ride with. The web site automatically matches individuals to drive with. It also calculates the amount of miles saved and the amount of carbon dioxide saved from destroying the environment. CarBuddy.com also provides a taxi cab service in case the driver or the rider aren't available. That feature can be used up to four times in a year for free. There are no charges or fees to sign up for this new service.

The web site keeps all personal information private. Driver names, phone numbers and addresses are not posted on the web site. Users who sign up for the service will receive an e-mail with information on how to contact the person they've been matched up with.

"CarBuddy came to us one Sunday afternoon as we were driving, realizing that all these cars are going to the same place with one person in the car," said Albert Rodriguez, President and Founder of CarBuddy.com. "A waste of energy, a waste of resources, a waste of a lot of things. Why can't we match these people in a very service-oriented way picking up all the problems associated with carpooling. That's how the idea came about."

An estimated 3.5 million people drive to work alone in Michigan. This accounts for 83 percent of drivers in Michigan, which increases traffic congestion and creates as much as 50 percent of urban air pollution and 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Carpooling will decrease the number of cars on the road, the amount of traffic congestion and air pollution. If ride sharing increased by 5.6 percent in Michigan, the savings for that group of commuters would be over $342 million.

Users will be prompted to enter their name, address, phone number and type of car in the first step. In step two, users will enter their type of car, model year, type of engine, whether they want to be the driver or the passenger, if they are willing to pay for parking and which says they would like to carpool. After pressing submit, the web site will notify the driver or passenger how many miles are saved and the positive impact on the environment. The user will then receive an e-mail with their carpool match.

"This service is not for everyone but we can make an impact, " Rodriguez said. "If we can get 12 to 13 percent of the population using this as a viable form of transportation, we've made a great impact. Detroit doesn't have the infrastructure for a train system or anything like that. We do drive a lot of miles. Detroit region is probably one of the longer median miles driven to work than any other place in the country. Part of the reason why we decided to launch here as well."

The web site matches people who are traveling from a similar place to another similar destination. It automatically verifies the driver's license and auto insurance. CarBuddy.com offers an evaluation component for drivers and passengers to use. If an emergency comes up, a free taxi will be sent to drive the user to their home or work. It just takes a simple call to their phone number.

"We're learning our lessons, making sure that our marketing campaigns are in place," said the president and founder about expanding this program to other cities. "They're coming in increments. Once we feel comfortable enough that hey we've got this pretty good, then we start rolling it out through the country."

CarBuddy.com is a free service that can be canceled or modified at any time.

Click here to join CarBuddy.com and become a driver or a passenger.

 

PHOTO ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo interviews Albert Rodriguez, President and Founder of CarBuddy.com.

 

 

 

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