New ride sharing website launches in Washington

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on May 25, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 25 at 1:04 PM

SEATTLE -- Another ride sharing website joined the handful already at work in Washington state Wednesday morning.

 Zebigo.com is the latest to launch. The company claims to match drivers and riders for a faster, cheaper, and greener commute. Users must log on, set up a profile page and include information about where and when they want to go. From there the system tries to find a match. 

Zebigo has 500 people already signed up, according to Jonathan Wolff, Zebigo's Chief Operating Officer. Riders pay drivers $5 for a 15 mile trip. Additionally, Zebigo charges riders 49 cents for every trip.

Zebigo's new website plays off an old idea. In places like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., people have been "slugging" for years. Slugging is a form of commuting with complete strangers.

There are other websites in Washington offering a similar service. Recently, the Washington State Department of Transportation partnered with a company, Avego, for a ride sharing program called go520. The state has since diminished its role, according to Avego. However, the program is expanding, with a thousand people signed up, according to Avego spokesperson, Joseph Malone.

At Seattle's Northgate Transit Center, commuters were intrigued, but cautious.

Zach Stump often rides the bus. When asked if he would try it, he said, "It depends on how many people we are picking up, and how quickly it would take us to get where we are going. I take the bus for work, and it is imperative I get to work on time."

Iris Naseth, another bus rider, is focused on safety.

"My only concern would be connecting with people you don't necessarily know. It could turn out to be sketchy," said Naseth.

Safety has been a top priority for Zebigo, according to Wolff. It is also one of the issues the company has received the most questions about.

"We think we have a real solid system for insuring that you'll get matched with someone you are comfortable traveling with. If you are not, you just don't take the trip," said Wolff. 

Zebigo offers an optional background check for users. Zebigo also has protections in place for its website where users have information like their names and phone numbers, according to Wolff.

While 500 have signed up for Zebigo, Wolff said a thousand participants using the service at least once a week is the company's goal.

 

 

 

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