Chapel Hill, N.C. — College students are finding new, safe and affordable ways to get back home from college through an app called Vector Rideshare.

The founder of the app, Nehemiah Stewart, describes it as a safe network where only students and faculty can use it to get from one destination to another.

“With this app, you’re not limited to only moving from the school. Wherever you go, you’re connected now,” Stewart said. “It’s only riding with students and faculty.”

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What sets this app apart from other mainstream apps like Uber and Lyft is that it offers riders the ability to travel farther distances at an affordable price, according to Stewart.

Haleigh Glenn, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently used Vector Rideshare to travel 3 1/2 hours from campus to Wilmington.

“Buses cost $50, they make multiple stops before your final destination, and it’s just so expensive,” Glenn said. “When I used the app to get home for the weekend, it only cost $34.98.”

Glenn shared that as a woman she always has a bit of concern with safety and carpooling, but when she used Vector Rideshare she didn’t worry that much.

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“I felt really safe using the app because I know that it’s all UNC students, staff or faculty,” Glenn said.

The application requires all riders and drivers to link a registered university ID, social media account, school .edu email address and a credit card or debit card.

Drivers also need to connect their car insurance and vehicle type and complete a background check.

Stewart added that his goal isn’t just to provide affordable, safe or longer-distance trips for drivers and riders, but he also intends on connecting people with people.

“We had a student from Virginia who rode home with a professor from Duke,” Stewart said. “At the end of the ride, the professor offers him a spot in the lab, and I was like, man, that is amazing.”

One thing is for sure, Vector Rideshare has a new fan in Glenn.

“I’ve been telling all my friends about it who don’t have cars to use the app, and even if you’re driving home for the weekend, you can pick someone up and it’s a super-easy way to make money and also just to meet new people,” Glenn said.

Stewart is striving to partner with groups like Mom’s Against Drunk Driving and other companies to focus more on safety.

The app launched in December 2019, and since it first went live, it’s been able to reach over 500 users. Stewart said his next goal is to connect more and more people together.

“I’d like to connect every university in this country, from East Coast to West Coast,” Stewart said. “This carpooling atmosphere allows students and riders to meet, know one another, and become friends in a way they never would have.”

Original Article

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