Sanchit Gupta is on a short list of young entrepreneurs who create a business venture and intend to take no direct profit.
Since then, several students have secured passage or offered a ride for a small price, mostly people trying to get to the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas on the weekends.
Gupta, 18, told Noozhawk that he came up with the idea shortly after classes began last fall because he’s been in the same predicament.
“I don’t have a car; that’s pretty much why,” said Gupta, who is from near Cupertino in the Bay Area. “I made it over winter break. I was thinking a lot of people are from my area.”
The free service — and only site geared toward UCSB students — allows drivers who have extra seats to enter where they are starting their journey, the destination, the number of seats available, and how much they would like to charge per person.
Students looking for rides can enter desired travel details, and the website matches them up.
Using the site, students can bypass the public-transit system or make a few extra bucks for little additional work.
“It’s going pretty well,” Gupta said. “You need a ride or you post a ride. Then it’s cheaper for all of us.”
GauchoRides.com isn’t Gupta’s first foray into creating a website, and likely won’t be his last.
Gupta considers the websites self-motivated computer science projects that help him gain experience toward a future career.
He said he hopes to completely automate the website service and integrate Facebook and online payment when the endeavor garners more interest. Right now, he’s emailing the ride matches.
“I’m always in the back of my head trying to think of a useful service,” Gupta said. “It’s pretty much good for everyone. I like making something on my own.”
Most students seem to be charging around $20 or so per seat, which is much better than long, expensive train trips, Gupta said.
“If I wanted to go home, I think I could,” he said.