CoMo Life: Getting from Here to There, Ridesharing in Columbia

For Columbia resident, Amanda Rainey, necessity truly is the mother of invention, especially when it comes to traveling without owning a car. While searching for a ride for her boyfriend from Columbia to St Louis, she got little satisfaction from the typical forums like Craigslist; so she did the next best thing: founded the Facebook Group page, COMO Rideshare.

Rainey’s inspiration is catching on in Mid-Missouri. Currently there are over 175 members on the site which started less than a week ago.  And according to Rainey, one successful rideshare has resulted as well.

Though far from new, ridesharing is discovering a new popularity due to high gas prices and the emphasis on greener living.  In fact, multiple sites are dedicated to this type of social traveling, such as Erideshare.com, which boasts over 1,000,000 happy customers since its humble beginnings in 1999.

The concept of ridesharing is simple enough. Basically you connect with a fellow traveler and agree to share a vehicle to a destination, then divvy up the cost of gas money along the way. On COMO Rideshare, you request membership first – once accepted, you can post rideshare questions, ask for rides or offer rides to others.

Rainey, originally from St. Louis, believes there’s more to ridesharing than just saving money; there’s a social aspect as well. “It’s a way to meet cool people. It’s also about reaching out and making those connections.” So she is quite pleased with the response to her Facebook Group , whose membership is growing daily.

But what about safety issues? Rainey says at this point most of the ridesharers listed on her site are friends or friends of friends. “Columbia is pretty small, so most people know one another, or have friends who know other people.” So overall, she personally feels comfortable traveling with any member on the site. She does however, encourage others who want to rideshare to do their homework and talk with friends or check out potential traveling companions through their Facebook profiles. Also, consider traveling in groups rather than alone.

Rainey hopes to stay in the Columbia area where her wide variety of  interests keep her busy, at least for now. As a middle twenty-something, she works at Sparkys Ice Cream, but has also been hired by the True False organization to schedule bands for next year’s film event. In addition, she’s releasing a compilation album this week through her record label, aptly named “Special Passenger Records” which features songs about cicadas – a topic that should bring a smile to most Columbians.

For more information about COMO Rideshare and ridesharing in Columbia, Missouri, check out the Facebook Group page.

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