The alternative way to school

The Kia Soul is one of the vehicles available to students through the Student CarShare program. Photo by Sachin Bahal
The Kia Soul is one of the vehicles available to students through the Student CarShare program. Photo by Sachin Bahal


Some students believe that taking the bus may not be the most reliable way to get to school but there are other alternatives available.


Sometimes a bus may not show up on time or it might be full, making students wait for the next one. Public transit at least twice as long to get from point A to point B.


If public transit may not be the best option, then what is?


One possible option is Blancride.


Blancride is an app created by UOIT students for the Durham Ignite competition. It first launched in November 2014 to Durham College and UOIT students.


The user downloads the free app, on either their iPhone or Android smartphone, and signs up through the app. The user will be given the option to signup as either a driver or a passenger, or be both later on.


As a passenger, a user would set a pickup location and destination, as well as the time and day.


A driver would see the request and choose whether or not to pick them up. If that driver is headed in the same direction and going within 5 km of their destination, the driver can pick them up.


The current cost is $5 per 20 km and then costs $0.25 per km after that. There is no restriction to how long a trip can be, as long as there is a driver going in the same direction as the user.


Since it launched, the app is now available to students at York University and University of Toronto Mississauga.


Noah Murphy is a sales team lead for Blancride. Murphy has been with the team since the beginning of the project.


“We have almost 1,900 registered users and there is people posting everyday, which is fantastic and we’re growing by hundreds each week,” Murphy said.


There are other options for those who would rather drive themselves.


Tanya Roberts, sustainability co-ordinator for Durham College, has worked alongside the manager of transportation to create carpool parking spots. These spots are dedicated to those who drive with more than just one person in their vehicle.


The carpool parking spots can be obtained the same way as regular parking spots. When someone signups, they get a discount on the parking pass because they are carpooling with up to three other people.


There are 30 parking spots split between the main and Whitby Durham College campuses. All of those spots are sold out.


Roberts said the campus cares for people who may not have their own vehicle. This is done with the Student CarShare program.


Discount Car and Truck Rentals created the Student CarShare program and Kia provides the vehicles.


To use the program, students pay a $50 annual fee and then pay for the length of time they want to use the vehicle for. The rate is $6 per hour or $63 for the day.


“I think there is quite a good diversification of alternative transportation… but there’s always room for improvement based on student demand,” said Roberts.