As Greyhound services leave Western provinces, GoManitoba’s ability to connect Manitobans to share the ride becomes more crucial. This online service from Green Action Centre enables users across Manitoba to connect with others to share a ride. Carpooling could help address the gap for Manitobans in rural and northern communities.

Launched last September, GoManitoba already has over 1,000 users. The powerful technology matches potential drives and passengers to carpool together. The Single Trip Matching feature of GoManitoba is a perfect fit for those looking for a one time trip for an appointment, event or other inter-community travel.

To use GoManitoba, individuals create profiles of their trip and then can reach out through the service to ideal matches to arrange to share the ride. Users never see the exact start or end point of their matches, just an approximation. Only after messaging through GoManitoba can users make the choice to meet a good match in real life, much like Kijiji matches buyers and sellers.

GoManitoba provides a guideline to organize a safe, effective carpool, from meeting in a public place and checking references and insurance, to talking about music preferences in the car. This ridesharing technology, RideShark, is active in countries around the world, with millions of users.

In Manitoba, we have seen a strong uptake of users within Winnipeg and the Metropolitan Region, but we know the potential of this service is largely untapped. With people in rural and northern Manitoba trying to find carpool partners for their trips on social media, we see GoManitoba’s ability to efficiently and safely find a good match. With GoManitoba, you don’t need a social media account, and you don’t have to follow a long chain of comments to try to find a ride, or someone to share a ride and expenses with you.

We also see municipalities trying to find sustainable commuting options in regions that are not dense enough to support public transportation. Carpooling is an effective way to commute when transit and cycling aren’t an option, and it’s been around for as long as people have been moving. But, with new technology, and a better acceptance of the sharing economy, we see GoManitoba as a powerful tool to fill gaps, where mass transportation just isn’t good business for a private enterprise.

Growing up in rural Manitoba, I carpooled to basically everything from tournaments, to socials to early morning track practices before the school bus ran! Once I started university and was travelling back to my hometown for weekend visits, it got a bit more complicated to coordinate rides, but it was much more cost effective to not drive all alone. Cost is going to be more and more crucial as gas prices rise. I can see GoManitoba filling a gap for regular commutes to neighbouring towns, and for those one-off longer trips. It’ll take a bit of getting used to, but like any technology, once it’s part of your life, it’s hard to imagine any other way of doing things. — Mel Marginet, Green Action Staff member whose hometown is Bruxelles, Manitoba

GoManitoba uses the RideShark technology, which is based out of Ottawa and used around the world. Green Action Centre was able to unlock the technology in our province thanks to the businesses and organizations that bought into the technology with a customized subsite. They include: Assiniboine Credit Union, The City of Winnipeg,The Forks, Health Sciences Centre, Investors Group, Red River College, The University of Manitoba, The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Metropolitan Region and St. Boniface General Hospital.

Businesses, organizations and municipalities can show their support for commuting options in their communities by subscribing to GoManitoba, with a customized subsite for their specific region’s needs.

The loss of Greyhound services across Manitoba have left many individuals without options. GoManitoba is already available to help fill this gap. As a free service not requiring a social media account and province wide support, Green Action Centre looks forward to assisting more Manitobans to find solutions through the options provided by GoManitoba.