New Zealand, University of Auckland
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UniRide is a phone app that will be available on iOS and Android. It is targeted towards students and helps those frustrated with public transport make the transition to carpooling as a faster, cheaper and more social alternative. UniRide seamlessly facilitates the process of finding, creating and managing a carpool. Finding: We realised that one of the most significant difficulties of setting up a carpool is finding the right group of people. It’s frustrating to have to message someone, ask if they want to carpool and then hope that both of your timetables line up. UniRide uses an intuitive map interface to display other students in the area that are also looking to carpool while providing additional information such as the compatibility of your timetables. This feature allows users to quickly find potential carpool candidates and eliminates the need for a double coincidence of wants. Creating: Once the user has found a person they would like to carpool with they can send a pairing request at the simple press of a button. Once the offer is accepted the carpool is officially created! They can now chat, designate a driver and manage incoming requests of people that wish to join their newly formed carpool. Managing: UniRide includes a host of management features that improve the ease of managing the carpool once it has been created. • Through the user dashboard, the driver can set a pick-up time for the next day which is then sent as a chat notification to all members. Everyone can see who’s currently going and then confirm attendance for themselves. • On the day of the ride, the driver presses a button when they are about to leave, and this activates real-time GPS tracking. Everyone is then able to see where the driver is and exactly when they will arrive. Users can then plan their morning schedule accordingly. • UniRide also keeps track of who drove and attended the carpool on each day. At the end of the week, a personalised invoice is sent to each user containing how much they need to pay and which accounts it needs to be paid to. This eliminates the need for spreadsheets which is currently what most carpool drivers use to keep track of ride history.
We are a team of three software engineers that were experiencing the hassle and inconvenience of public transport until we decided to try carpooling. It was one of the best decisions we could have made. Not only was it faster and cheaper but it introduced a social aspect to the commute, transforming the ride to university into an activity that we looked forward to each morning. But when we recommended carpooling to all our friends, we realised an immediate problem was present. We discovered that there was an inherent difficulty of setting up a carpool which deterred many people from the idea. This problem inspired us to create UniRide, an app that simplifies the carpool process, so others could also enjoy its benefits.