Is App-Driven Carpooling a Carbon Solution?

By Aishwarya Gandotra
Guest Writer

Carpooling first became prominent during the 1940s when Fairleigh Dickinson University was just a junior college in Rutherford.

It was a war-time rationing tactic that reappeared in response to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis, and then subsided as gas prices dropped. Now, ride-sharing is returning, boosted by smartphones with GPS and ride share services such as Uber and Lyft.

And, in response to climate concerns, students are considering carpooling. Can this help FDU lessen the carbon impact of a commuter culture with three out of four students living off campus?

“I would definitely carpool to school. I wish FDU had a program that could make it easy for us to do so,” said junior Mila Giraldo.

This reporter conducted a Twitter poll that received over 30 votes. Some 80% of the people responding said they commute alone and 20 % said they carpool. Many said that they wish there was an easier way to make it happen.

Waze, the Google-owned traffic application, has created a program for students to carpool at a cheaper rate. Using their school emails, students can request rides with other students in the same area. St a cost of $0.54 per mile, cheaper than Uber and Lyft and only available to commuters.

Waze offers $2 rides for the first 21 days and $20 cash for the driver, as well as $20 credit for up to 10 referrals.

Waze started the program in the Bay Area in 2016 and is currently at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of San Diego and San Jose State University. Each school’s website contains the program’s information and the importance of it.

Although the program has been running for three years, East Coast schools are not participating.

Universities similar to FDU such as Seton Hall University and Monmouth University, with student populations of 10,000 and under – mostly commuters, are not enrolled in the Waze carpooling program.

Fairleigh Dickinson University has not been a part of Waze carpooling but has received inquiries from students about the issue.

“As of right now we do not have any immediate action on a carpooling service. But we definitely encourage students to carpool to school when they can.” said Mark Fisco, assistant director of Public Safety at FDU. “If Waze contacts us about their carpooling program, I am sure the university will take a look at what they have to offer us.”

While FDU students don’t have access to this plan, but there is an alternative: “Wheeli,” a carpooling app for college students.

This app helps those who do not have a carpooling program at their school get a ride just by signing up to the app, which is available on all devices.



This story part of The Equinox’s participation in a statewide climate reporting collaboration by members of the NJ College News Commons, a network of campus media outlets working together to cover the climate crisis in New Jersey.

Categories: Climate, Student Lifestyle