What's in a Name? October 3, 2012

Greetings from Lawrence OnBoard!

So far, I have traveled OnBoard for 13 rides.  All have been with lovely, friendly people.  Just yesterday, I went into town at 3pm riding along with a Kickapoo couple from up north (roadside wait time of 6 minutes, 5 cars). They dropped me at the post office, then I walked to the Library and then 6 blocks to New York street where Husband had left the car earlier in the day.  I took the car to run the rest of my errands, then picked him up at 5 and headed home.  We were able to condense our travel to ONE car trip to town thanks to my handy white board.  That means we halved our carbon footprint for the day!

I’ve noticed that I get two very different reactions whenever I talk about Lawrence OnBoard, depending on the term I use to describe it.  Here are two video illustrations:

Hitchhiking=CreepyScaryHorribleViictimWHOWOULDEVERDOTHAT!

Ridesharing=HappyFunGreenSavetheWhalesandReadonyourwaytoWork

But neither of those  words fully express the awesomeness that is Lawrence OnBoard.  So, my dilemma is how to describe this project? If I were a transportation professional, I could use the term Technology Facilitated Dynamic Rideshare.  OK, that tells us that we use cell phones and websites to make the ride safe and to reward drivers, but it sure doesn’t trip off the tongue.  I personally like the term Community Supported Transportation.  It’s very feel-good but not too accurate since it also could describe a bus.  High-tech Hitchhiking has a certain bad-boy mystique and it’s pretty descriptive, but alas that H word equates “stranger danger” in this day and age.  For now I will use the term  Roadside Ridesharing.

Now, what do we call the act of holding out a white board and hopping in a stranger’s car, if we are not going to call it “hitching a ride”?  Car Surfing?  Boarding? (both have references to OnBoard).   I see a KU School of Business Marketing project here, don’t you?  We also need some catchy slogans.  My favorite is “Be the Bus You Want to See in Your Town”.  My dad suggested “A butt for every seat and a seat for every butt”.  Suggestions welcome from any and all!  That’s all for now.  See you on the ROAD!