Scores of students use RamRide every weekend to find a sober and safe ride home. Now, the free RamRide app allows students to obtain a ride without an embarrassing drunk phone call to dispatch.
Compatible with iPhone and Android, the app allows the user to request a ride with just a few clicks.
After talking with staff and viewing results from a student survey, the staff of RamRide felt that the dispatch system was not working as smoothly as it could, according to Student Program coordinator Ted Fetterling. The app was developed to create a better RamRide process for users.
“It’s the exact same function as calling in — it’s just a lot faster,” Fetterling said.
The RamRide app lets students enter their own pickup and destination information and will even remember the home address for future uses. The app is not yet able to give the user estimated wait times, but it does alert the user to when the RamRide car is near the pickup destination.
“Most people have found it a lot easier,” said RamRide marketing manager Shaun Granmoe. “So I’m excited to see where it goes throughout the semester with more promotional stuff coming out here in the next couple of weeks.”
RamRide, an organization funded by student fees, pays for the app through its budget that is allocated every year. According to Fettering, the cost to keep up the app is about $5 per student each semester.
The app had its soft launch last semester and is currently available for free student download.
“Everyone has been loving the app so far,” Granmoe said. “At least, everyone who is using it.”
According to Fetterling, the RamRide app has had about a 10 percent usage rate since its launch. The RamRide staff is working to help promote and improve its usage.
Austin Walter, a senior studying journalism, drove for RamRide Saturday and said those who used the app enjoyed it.
“The few people who used the app were positive about it,” Walter said. “They said it was nice because they could place the pin exactly where to go, even if it wasn’t the exact address. The only complaint was that you had to be fairly sober to use it.”
Walter said after picking up 20 carloads of passengers, the vast majority of them were not familiar with the app.
“I’m sure they would use it more if they knew about the app,” said Ilyssa Simon, a senior studying psychology. “As for now, I think people think the wait times are still long and it takes forever.”
According to Fetterling, RamRide has taken multiple steps in the last six years to help improve the wait time for users. One of these steps includes a zoning system that sends drivers to their closest RamRide users, rather than driving across town.
“We have made huge strides with that,” Fetterling said. “I think the app will help out a ton with lowering those wait times again this year.”
Collegian Technology Reporter Megan Braa can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Megan_Braa.