Commuters Use Online Carpooling to Comply With Post-Sandy Road Rules
After Superstorm Sandy ripped through the East Coast, commuters in the Tri-State area were left stranded with few options. The mass transit system, crippled by flooding and debris, is slowly coming back on line. Until everything is up and running, however, daunting delays are discouraging straphangers from their regular routine.
Instead, commuters are choosing to drive into the city despite 30-minute lines  at the gas pumps, dwindling supplies, three-passenger minimums to cross the East River bridges and plenty of gridlock.
Commuters are turning to the social networks to fulfill the three-passenger minimum for cars entering Manhattan issued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday. Many are posting ads on Craigslist.
Rideshare  requests on Craigslist have exploded since the super storm’s passing. Hundreds of individuals have posted listings in search of additional passengers. Many commuters are offering free pick-up and drop-off in the city.
Vaughn Browne, from Brooklyn, posted an ad on Craigslist to find two passengers looking for a ride into Midtown. Within a few hours, he received the responses he was looking for.
“I suspect if I had posted during the early morning rush the responses might have been greater,” Browne said. “As for choosing Craigslist, it was honestly the first option that came to mind.”
For Brooklyn resident Laura Kortz, the personal ads network was the only place she posted inquiries for rideshare passengers. During the week, she’s used Facebook to connect with friends and family with power.
“I work in Jersey City and live in Brooklyn,” Kortz said. “It just seems really perfect for this situation and I wish there was a way to get the word out to more people.”
After conducting some research, we found there’s a lack of online networks and mobile carpooling apps for the East Coast market. For commuters traveling to Manhattan by car, many people seem to be turning to Craigslist  to coordinate with locals and neighbors trying to get to the same place they are.
The simple directories, reminiscent of Craigslist, are dedicated to daily carpools and cross-country travel. Travelers can search by states, cities and neighborhoods.
Another carpooling social network is Zimride , available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. The network seems to be geared towards long-distance trips. But, it’s still a possibility for commuters looking to get into the city and abide by the three-passenger mandate through the tunnels.
These networks offer drivers and passengers a convenient way to connect. Payments, such as splitting the cost of gas, are determined by each party.
Zaarly  is an online marketplace where individuals can request or sell personal services. Carpooling requests aren’t common on Zaarly, but it seems like a great forum to sell or buy a ride post-Sandy. All users will have to do is fill out a “Request Anything” form to get started.
“It’s simple: They just go onto Zaarly through the web or app, post when they need a ride and how much they’re willing to pay (or if they’re willing to kick-in for gas, tools, etc). Then, local people can respond and they can work out the details from there,” a Zaarly spokesperson told Mashable.
Residents in the Tri-State area are also using social media to reach out to friends, neighbors and coworkers to figure out travel arrangements. Has your commute been affected by Hurricane Sandy?
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November 2, 2012