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Here's a (cheap, green) ticket to ride from S.F. to L.A.

August 17, 2011|By Susan Carpenter | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Logan Green, front seat, founder and chief executive of Zimride, and John Zimmer, co-founder and chief operating officer.
Logan Green, front seat, founder and chief executive of Zimride, and John… (Zimride )

Need a lift to San Francisco? How about a ride back to L.A.? Zimride, a ride-sharing service,  is launching its first regular route between the two cities this week, pairing drivers with passengers traveling to the same destination for a small fee. About 100 drivers who frequent the route have signed up on Zimride.com, offering seats in their vehicles for $35 to $40 each way.

Drivers with available cars can create a profile on the Zimride website or connect their profile from Facebook. After the driver lists a car, along with musical preferences, the driver then posts a trip with specifics -- date and times, seat costs and how to be contacted for questions. Potential passengers can then view the profile and the post and book a seat using a credit card.

Zimride has been matching cars and passengers for four years, mostly on college campuses and for corporations where the destination was always the same. Although San Francisco-based Zimride has always let drivers offer seats on trips going anywhere and everywhere, the starting and stopping points were not always the same. But the route between L.A. and San Francisco is Zimride’s first to build up a critical mass with a predictable – and growing – number of trips between the two cities.

Last week, Zimride had 150 available seats traveling back and forth as part of a pilot project.

“We expect to be scaling that to the thousands and tens of thousands,” said John Zimmer, 27, Zimride co-founder and chief operating officer.

Customer feedback, Zimmer says, has been 99% positive. And that 1%? “Occasionally," he said, "someone might be a little late.”

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