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Catch a good spot with carpooling

Slow start, but steady finish for UMBC’s casual carpooling program

Carpooling at UMBC used to appear obsolete, but now with the growth of more events and an active myUMBC page, it has become more accessible.

   Carpooling always sounds like a positive idea. Students who commute can save money and gas while being environmentally friendly and connecting with fellow classmates. Carpooling had a slow start at UMBC because students were not always comfortable approaching each other to make that initial plan and connection.

To help solve this connection issue, on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, Off Campus Student Services, (OCSS) sponsored an event titled Carpool Connection to help students find others to carpool with and to learn more information about the carpooling program at UMBC in general.

Even though carpooling began as a weak program with few student participants, events like Carpool Connection and new features on the myUMBC page have made it a more convenient and accessible source of transportation for students.

On the Casual Carpooling myUMBC page there are now discussion boards where students can post their need for a carpooling partner. Students post the area they are coming from, if they need or want to offer a ride, the days and times most convenient and fun facts about themselves.

One UMBC student has recently shared her experience on the myUMBC page, “UMBC Carpoolers Tell Their Stories.” She gave a positive account of what happened when she decided to get involved with the carpooling program.

“I was no longer traveling this grueling distance and combating annoying traffic alone to attend class at the crack of dawn,” said Christine Garrahan Senior Geography & Environmental Systems major. “I was now commuting with a companion in the journey of completing school. And it felt less lonely.”

There is also a new carpooling lot located behind the Public Policy building in lot 4. Here, A-permit, carpooling students that have acquired the necessary carpooling permit are able to have a convenient spot to park until 10:30 a.m.

Safa Zahangir, junior biology major said, “The problem was people didn’t know, but now it is more ongoing … carpoolers don’t have to look for spots.” The lot with marked spots for carpooling students was set up to create a more appealing experience.

All of these events and changes to the myUMBC page make carpooling more appealing than before, but the issue stands whether or not these resources are actually improving numbers.

Many of the recent posts on the Carpooling Connection page have gone unanswered. Students looking for rides from various places in Maryland sometimes will hear no response from a fellow classmate.

If a student receives a response from someone with a similar schedule and that is in close proximity, carpooling is the way to go. Now that UMBC offers parking in convenient spots close to the Commons and right behind Public Policy, commuters should take advantage and check out the site.

There are posts that are looking for rides from various areas like Parkville, Perry Hall, White Marsh, Columbia and Reisterstown. The convenience and accessibility are out there, students that want to carpool just need to use resources like the discussion board and the events put on by OCSS.

Carpooling is starting to come alive here at UMBC, but there is still more that needs to be done. The discussion board makes connecting easy, but there needs to be more awareness brought to the students.

So if you need a ride to school, you should check out the carpooling myUMBC page.