Croozen transportation service comes to Rice

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Amy Griffiths

Croozen, a ridesharing app launching August 2017, helps coordinate trips among students — both drivers and riders with a mutual destination. Rice is partnering with Croozen to facilitate ride sharing and provide students with an “all-inclusive, safe, and enjoyable travel experience.” The pilot year will be aimed at students, but anyone with a university affiliated e-mail can sign up. There are plans to expand the program in future and market to more individuals.

"It's a ride sharing platform which brings riders and drivers together when traveling to the same or nearby destinations such as music festivals, sporting events, and the grocery store,” co-founder and head of marketing and branding at Croozen Justin Vaughn said. “Croozen has an added safety and social aspect to build comfort and enhance the experience of the trip."

Based in Houston, Croozen is currently focusing on the local level, which makes Rice a great starting point. Croozen is in the process of reaching out to universities across the U.S. and partnering with them, and will be working towards expanding their reach on a national level.

“We’re excited to partner with Croozen because it truly promotes the reduction of single-occupancy vehicles on the road, unlike most ride-hailing apps. Croozen wants to fill empty seats in vehicles, which reduces congestion and emissions, while making it a fun, social activity that saves you money. In a way, they’re re-imagining carpooling,” says Lisa Lin, Transportation Demand Management Program Manager at Rice.

Unlike other ride-hailing apps, Croozen focuses on longer-distance destinations. Though Croozen can be utilized for small trips — like to the grocery store or a restaurant for Saturday night dinner — it is geared toward trips that you know in advance. The app is ideal for trips like to music festivals, Chinatown, sporting events, or even to the airport.

Croozen is designed with college-age students in mind, so it focuses on the carpooling experience. Gordon Taylor, the app’s founder, believes that Croozen has the potential to help university students meet each other. Profiles can currently be customized to show favorite music artist and favorite destination. The specialization won’t stop there — still relatively early in the design stages, Croozen has a full-time tech team working on app updates to optimize rides. In the near future, users’ profiles will show their as favorite restaurants to stop at, favorite sports teams, personality trait, and more. The goal is to build a social connection and make a more comfortable ride for individuals using the platform.

How does it work? Essentially, Croozen is Uber meets AirBnb. You just download the app, register with your Rice e-mail, and start cruising on Croozen. Drivers set the time, price, and number of seats available for rides. Riders search postings based on time and destination of their desired trip, then purchase a seat in that trip.

Why carpool? Save money and save the Earth. Many students agree it’s expensive to own and drive a car. Carpooling allows you to save money by splitting those costs freeing up funds to finally splurge on brand-named colored pens. Furthermore, carpooling emits less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and lead per person than driving alone. To reap all these benefits, get ready to download Croozen for the upcoming school year.