If you drive, you are undoubtedly aware of changes in gas prices. In fact, AAA shows that, as of March 14th, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline in Virginia was $4.230, while it was $4.325 at the national level. The RIDE Solutions app is a great way to save gas and earn discounts at the same time by carpooling, vanpooling, riding public transit, bicycling and walking, or telework. You can download the app at www.ridesolutions.org and start logging trips now!
This article explains how the app can help you find carpools, vanpools, bus routes, bicycle routes, and walking routes and how to log your trips to earn rewards.
If you’re using your phone or mobile device and you’d like to find someone to carpool with, look for the magnifying glass icon with “Rides” listed below it, or if on your PC, look for “Find Rides.” Next, you’ll be asked to query one of the following choices:
- For my commute (to work or school)
- To an event or destination
- For a single trip (shopping, doctor, etc.)
Once you select one of these choices, you’ll have the option to enter your start and end points in the form of specific addresses or of cities/towns if you don’t need to be so specific. Once you do that, the number of potential carpool matches will be generated for you, indicated by a number shown beneath the car logo, as illustrated below. As the below screenshot depicts, there are four carpool opportunities available currently between Lynchburg and Roanoke for “Anytime” Monday through Friday. If you set specific hours in your query criteria, the availability may change.
Once you get a list of matches, you can send messages to your matches to ask whether they want to carpool with you. You’ll do this by selecting the car icon, followed by “Contact.” You can communicate with each via the app to determine who will drive, where to meet, how to split the cost of gas and maintenance, and other details.
Vanpools are becoming more common as employers and employees alike are becoming familiar with the benefits of this form of commuting. One organized vanpool is currently in operation in our service area, which travels between Christiansburg and Salem. For this route, for example, you can enter Christiansburg as your starting point, and enter Salem as your destination. Next, you’ll see the icon of a van with a “1” just beneath it, indicating the operation of one vanpool along this route. Next, click on the van icon, and a tab will appear showing that the vanpool is operated by Commute with Enterprise, and that seats are available. Select the tab, and you will be shown a specific location of where the vans depart and arrive. Notice in the screen shot below that they do not stop directly in the Town of Christiansburg or in the City of Salem, but at stops just outside both. Selecting the location, depicted by the van marker, will show the address of the stop. Additionally, selecting “More” on the Commute with Enterprise tab will bring up a larger tab with more detailed information, such as days the vanpool operates, applicable fees, contact information, and other relevant information. Keep an eye out for more vanpools to become available!
Maybe your business or organization in interesting in establishing a vanpool. To do so, please contact one of the RIDE Solutions Regional Coordinators by following the instructions at the end of this blog.
Use the RIDE Solutions app to find transit routes and schedules between destinations. While transit service is not available in all areas, our service area is served by multiple transit agencies, as noted earlier in this blog. Let’s say you live in north Danville and want to commute to the Coleman Marketplace. You’d input your start address as you would for a carpool trip and Coleman Marketplace as your destination. The #3 Route will take you to a stop that is a five-minute walk from Coleman Marketplace. The RIDE Solutions app will also show you when the next bus is scheduled to arrive, the duration of your trip, the length of time for the trip, and any transfers.
Travel by Bicycle and Walking
The RIDE Solutions app will generate the best routes if the distance of your trip is relatively short, and you’d prefer to walk or bike. Select “Rides” and the reason you are traveling (commute, event or destination, or a single trip). Let’s say you live in downtown Roanoke near Center in the Square and are planning a trip to Valley View Mall by bicycle. After setting your origin and destination, select the bicycle icon on the screen, and you will see that the distance and time are 28 minutes and 4.3 miles, respectively; the app also includes step-by-step directions for you to follow to your destination. If you wish to walk to your destination and you’re looking to find the best route, you’d follow the same steps (no pun intended) as you would for bicycling, but you would select the pedestrian icon rather than the bicycle icon.
Telework (working from home)
If you are able to telework, or work from home, this is a great way to save money you would have otherwise spent on gas, not to mention time and wear-and-tear on your car by not commuting – and earn rewards through the RIDE Solutions app just as you would for carpooling, riding the bus, bicycling, or walking! When you log your trip as telework, the RIDE Solutions app assigns points based on where you live and where you would have commuted if you’d gone into the office that day.
RIDE Solutions Rewards Program
While commuting has always been the focus of the RIDE Solutions program, non-commute trips have become a component of our program as well. You earn rewards for your commute to work as well as your trip to the grocery store, to see the doctor, to visit a friend or relative, or to attend an event, just as long as you do not drive alone for the entire trip.
Each time you log a trip in the RIDE Solutions app, you earn points toward rewards. Best of all, you are gifted 1,000 points just for signing up, and you earn an additional 100 points every time you log a trip! Rewards accrue quickly. To log a trip, just select “Trips,” and follow the instructions to select carpool, vanpool, transit, bicycling, walking, or telework.
What do rewards consist of? Well, generally discounts on shopping (in-person and online), dining, activities, and services offered by participating businesses and institutions. You can also use your rewards to participate in drawings to win gift cards offered by national brands.
To see what rewards you are eligible for or to redeem your rewards, select the Rewards icon on the app and you’ll be provided with a menu of categories which you can apply your points to for discounts on shopping, dining, activities, services, and drawings. Once you do this, just follow the prompts on the screen to redeem your points.
Signing up to become a RIDE Solutions member. Are there any catches or hidden costs?
Signing up to be a RIDE Solutions member is simple and requires only a few seconds! Just visit the RIDE Solutions website at www.ridesolutions.org, and select “Login/Create Account” on the home page, followed by “Join.” Then, a small window will appear which will prompt you to enter your first name, your last name, your email address, and a password. That’s it! You’re done! If you wish, you can update your profile later. You can download the RIDE Solutions app on your smartphone or other device for free, and there are no fees at all for being a RIDE Solutions member or for using this app.
If you have questions about the RIDE Solutions program, there are three ways to contact us:
- Visit the RIDE Solutions homepage, ridesolutions.org, then selecting “Connect,” which will bring you to a link to contact us.
- To contact a RIDE Solutions regional coordinator, go to the RIDE Solutions homepage and click on the large links for the region: Roanoke Valley, Central Virginia (Lynchburg Region), New River Valley, and West Piedmont.
- Send us a message on our Facebook page.