How Hinesburg Rides Began
As a member of the Village Steering Committee, which was appointed by the Selectboard to investigate programs that would benefit the village primarily but also the town, Karla Munson started looking at transportation needs. In 2006, she noticed different transportation buses going through town—Addison County Transit Resources (ACTA), Special Services Transportation Agency, (SSTA), and our local On the Go van.
These vehicles were never full. Karla thought this was a big waste and started investigating their purposes, so survey was created and sent out to all Hinesburg residents to determine their transportation needs. There were three categories of needs: volunteer drivers, carpooling/vanpooling (ridesharing), and employer related transportation (leading to public buses).
Karla began to talk to local churches, schools, employers, town employees, all the Vermont transportation agencies and other local organizations. A meeting was held with everyone involved in December, 2006 at Town Hall. There were 22 attendees from all the organizations. The VTrans representative gave information about a United We Ride grant that would be available to hire a consultant to pursue our transportation needs. We applied and received the grant in 2007, when the current Hinesburg team was assembled to work within all three established areas of need.
The rideshare/carpooling effort of Hinesburg Rides arose out of a town-wide effort to promote sustainability and merged with the existing efforts to improve opportunities for those with limited access to transportation options (described earlier). The rideshare/carpooling effort has always had ONE primary goal: to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles (SOV's) in Hinesburg. The benefits to doing this should be obvious but they are worth noting:
On any given day, if you stand on route 116 in the center of Hinesburg and watch the cars go by, at least 9 out of 10 will be SOV's. There is a good chance that some if not many of these SOV's are going to or very close to where YOU work. While you probably wouldn't know every person passing by, there is a good chance that you share at least one common friend or neighbor. So why can't we just connect riders and divers? Well, traditional carpooling has limited success due to several issues:
We feel we can succeed because Hinesburg residents have demonstrated both a strong environmental concern and a willingness to become civically involved. In addition, a number of new technologies, that have recently come into widespread use, have enormous potential to help. These include the internet, social networking systems, cello phones, text messaging, and global positioning systems (GPS). We don't know what specific techniques will work, but in order to start the ball rolling, we're designing a user friendly website that will help connect potential riders and drivers in a safe, secure, and efficient manner.
Most successful web based tools have evolved "from the ground up", so we need your help to find out what works and what doesn't. Please join our effort and help make a difference.