I am a fiercely independent person. There are few things I dislike more than depending on someone with a car for a ride, or suffering through the responsibility of borrowing a friend’s car. Or worse, take public transportation in LA (gasp!). Hence, a substantial amount of my disposable income went to Zipcar during my freshman and sophomore years. I still think Zipcar is a great company, but I prefer to buy local.
Which is why I’m stoked about Trepic, (“trip” + “epic”) a new website launching today. Eric Johnson ‘12 and his partner Will Forrester, who goes to Washington University in St. Louis, created it after getting interested in the cultural phenomenon of “casual carpooling,” used by thousands in the Bay Area to get to work. Person-to-person car sharing has never been an easy problem to solve. Without car sharing, your best shot at attending a fun event might be to pray Jim Nauls pays for a bus. Johnson believes there are many missed opportunities when students don’t even consider going somewhere for lack of transportation.
Trepic seeks to solve the “need to get to” problem–and even more importantly, the “want to get to” problem–in a user-friendly, super accessible format. Simply create an account with your Claremont email address (i.e. [email protected]), and you’ll be presented with a list of rides going various places. Each ride has a departure time, a pickup location, a destination, an event, a price, the number of open seats remaining, and the name of the driver. Each driver’s photo is linked to their Facebook profile, so you can check them out before committing. For example, Matt Hollander ‘12 is driving from 6th and Mills to Santa Monica, leaving at 9am on March 17th for a beach trip, and has three spots available. He wants $5 per seat. I’m down.
Johnson believes that the easiest way to encourage usage is to make the site as simple as possible. It takes one click to sign up for a spot in someone’s car, and just seconds to create a new ride. If you’re the kind of person who drives a lot of places off campus, this is the perfect way to make a few bucks on a Target run, or more significant cash if you’re driving to far off locales like Las Vegas or San Diego. You might even make some friends along the way. Trepic is committed to developing an inexpensive community for student travel. For now, users will determine prices for the rides themselves and handle the transaction in cash individually. While Trepic’s long term business model is still being developed, the pilot program starting today is free to you, me, and the 5Cs.
Trepic is offering the “Trepic Travel $100:” any student who signs up for Trepic and either (a) posts a ride offer or (b) posts two ride requests will be entered to win $100 to cover travel expenses related to your trip. Just get started at www.trepic.us. For more information on the prize, “Like” Trepic on Facebook here.
Also, I’m offering my own personal incentive: free rides. I’ll be making two free Trepic trips in late March/early April. My Hyundai is clean and usually smells nice. Come join me!