Friday, February 24 , 2017, 6:49 pm | Fair 55º



UCSB Student Helping Peers Catch a Ride with Carpooling Website

Freshman Sanchit Gupta launches to connect students in need of a less expensive way to travel

Sanchit Gupta is on a short list of young entrepreneurs who create a business venture and intend to take no direct profit.

The first-year UCSB computer science major last month launched, a website that allows fellow UCSB students to coordinate carpools.

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.” isn’t Gupta’s first foray into creating a website, and likely won’t be his last.

The well-spoken, tech-savvy young man has previously created online apps Secretify (similar to the popular smartphone app Snapchat) and Pickmate for car shoppers and enthusiasts.

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.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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