McGill Rideshare: Connecting commuters for a greener, cost-efficient journey to campus

The new app encourages sustainable travel
McGill Ridehare is a community-driven initiative fostering sustainable and cost-effective commuting for the McGill University family

The McGill Office of Sustainability introduces an exclusive commuting app, McGill Rideshare, aimed at revolutionizing the daily commute for students and staff. This innovative and free service acts as a digital hub for individuals within the McGill community who share similar travel routes, providing a seamless way to carpool, bike, walk, or take transit together. “We hope that initiatives like McGill Rideshare will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commuting at the University and move us towards our institutional target of being carbon-neutral by 2040,” says Divya Sharma, Climate & Biodiversity Officer at McGil.

Tailored commuting experience

This pioneering app, funded by the Sustainability Projects Fund and available exclusively to McGill community members, already has a pool of users and is ready to generate commute matches. Over the past few months, McGillians located on both the west and the east of the Montreal Island, Laval, Longueil, Vaudreuil, Rosemere, Terrebone, Mirabel, and other locations have created a free profile with McGill Rideshare demonstrating an early commitment to sustainable commuting.

Divya says that it was important for the app to have a beta launch not only to create a pool of people to be matched with but also: “to ensure there was time to address bugs and improve the user experience as much as possible before officially launching this November.”

The app’s user-friendly interface allows members to customize preferences, from choosing fellow students or staff as travel companions to setting flexible schedules for different days. Carpoolers can even fine-tune preferences, such as partnering with non-smokers or those of the same gender and more.

Cost-sharing for savings

While McGill Rideshare is entirely free, it encourages carpoolers to decide on a cost-sharing arrangement that suits everyone. Shared expenses like gas and parking can lead to significant savings, potentially cutting individual commuting costs by at least half. Users are advised to consult with their insurance providers regarding carpooling arrangements, as McGill University assumes no responsibility for insurance-related issues.

Effortless ride coordination

Creating a profile on McGill Rideshare is a breeze. Indicate whether you are a driver or a passenger, set your preferences, and you are ready to go. The app’s features like “Finding a Carpool Partner” and “Booking/Posting a Ride” make connecting with potential travel companions and organizing carpools a smooth process. The app also has a frequently asked questions section, and the project team is available to answer any general or technical questions through the app.

Clear communication is crucial in successful carpools. The app facilitates communication between drivers and passengers, ensuring a coordinated and efficient travel experience. From confirming pickup details to cancelling a posted trip, and everything in between, McGill Rideshare keeps the conversation flowing. Users have the option to communicate directly through the app or via text messages.

Flexibility and convenience

Just like public transit, carpools thrive on a reliable schedule. McGill Rideshare promotes flexibility, allowing users to adjust their preferences based on changing circumstances. If carpooling is not convenient on a particular day, alternative commuting methods like public transit, biking, or walking can be easily adopted.

Encouraging sustainable commuting

McGill Rideshare aims to enhance travel options for commuters.  Contrary to concerns, there is no evidence linking ridesharing services to reduced public transit use. Carpooling is designed to be a flexible and convenient alternative, complementing existing transportation options.  “McGill Rideshare facilitates more sustainable travel to and from our campuses, providing a viable alternative to solo car use at McGill,” says Divya Sharma.

Perseverance pays off

Finding the perfect commute arrangement might take a few attempts. McGill Rideshare encourages users to revisit the app, adjust preferences, and give it a few tries for an optimized and satisfying commuting experience.  There are many reasons and ways to use the app. Divya hopes that “staff and students interested in biking, searching for a buddy to help navigate city biking routes safely,” is one of them, as she is an avid biking advocate. One-off trips to another campus, when you are in a rush, are also among the many reasons to give McGill Rideshare a try.

McGill Rideshare is not just an app; it is a community-driven initiative fostering sustainable and cost-effective commuting for the McGill University family. “McGill Rideshare allows you to save on gas, save time by taking advantage of carpool lanes, and find biking, walking, and public transit buddies to make your commute cheaper, easier, and more fun,” says Divya.

Join the ride and embrace a greener, more connected campus journey today!

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Heidi
7 months ago

I really wish the university would invest in some secure bike parking, and not walk off with the portable racks in the fall. I am also hoping to soon hear about the plans for the bike space in the basement of the student union building. COVID was 3 years ago, time to get with the program.

Stephanie
6 months ago
Reply to  Heidi

Hi Heidi, we hear your frustrations about biking infrastructure and we’re working on it! The project you’re referring hit several roadblocks and has now been refocused on an alternative location. We’re hoping to have at least one secure bike parking location within the next year, and more to follow if the pilot works well. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to sustainability@mcgill.ca.