Sustainability

Carpooling? There's an App for That

Story posted May 07, 2014

Bowdoin's Rideboard has undergone several iterations in its history. First, a bulletin board of index cards. Then, an IT-created website. Now, the Bowdoin Rideshare App, created by current Bowdoin sophomore Inho Hwang, aims to bring a more streamlined and accessible Ridesharing experience for students. The app is a mobile version of the Bowdoin College Rideboard website. The synching allows mobile and computer users to share one platform; no matter if you’re using the app or the website, users will be connected and able to interact with each other. For example if you uploaded a request on the app for a ride to Freeport on friday at 8pm, the request would also be displayed on the website. 

An additional feature added to the app is the ability to ask for a payment or fee for the ride, such as a gas contribution or pitching in for Twizzlers to share. Similarly, within the app there is new section that allows users to add comments about the ride like how full it is, the route, or other important information.

Inho Hwang has been able to transfer his passion for making apps into a positive enterprise for Sustainable Bowdoin. Hwang, who has been making apps since senior year of high school and taken a number of computer science classes at Bowdoin has transformed his hobby into a job opportunity by creating and selling a variety of apps that can be found on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Besides the Rideshare app, he has made a commemorative, educational app for the Bowdoin Arctic museum. However, making apps is a tough as Inho remarks that he, “had to learn new things and got stuck many times along the way.” The app took him “over a hundred hours, but [he] worked on the app over a period of 3 months and during winter break.”

When thinking about ideas for the app, Inho employed a meditative and critical technique that best fits the Bowdoin environment: “Inspiration comes from thinking alone deeply. I thought about what would be the best environment for students to share information to get/give rides to each other. I went with the best option, and started developing.”

The best way to get a grasp on the app is to use it and try it out. Download it now at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bowdoin-college-rideshare/id805275665?mt=8. There is one thing for certain the next time you see someone looking at their phone: they won’t be checking their Facebook or snap chatting selfies, but celebrating that they found a ride to the T-Pain concert in Boston using the new Bowdoin Rideshare App.