By James Marien —

Everyone knows how much of a harsh travel environment University of Wisconsin–Stout can be once the cold winter months take hold of the campus. The more pleasurable months can still cause travel pains: walking to and from North Campus can eat up hours over the course of a week, driving from out of town can be lonesome and monotonous and finding a ride to places outside of our little university ecosystem can cause trouble for anyone without a reliable source of transportation.

In the past, Stout provided a program called Rideshare, which students could use to share in methods of transportation, whether it be walking, riding bikes, taking the bus, carpooling or even renting cars for little cost.

This year, Rideshare has undergone some improvements. Their program, which can be used by all students and staff alike, has become more user-friendly and accessible for all.  In Rideshare, you can create a profile describing your methods of transportation, such as driving, walking or public transportation.

Then, when you need a ride or want someone to carpool with, Rideshare compares your information with other people’s profiles and finds people for you to share the journey with.

It’s extremely easy to contact someone you find, since you can simply click to “request ride” or “offer ride”. You can even log your trips to see how much money you’ve saved through gasoline, how many calories you’ve burned through walking or biking and earn points to win prizes.

If you’re looking to go somewhere outside of Menomonie, Rideshare can help you do that as well. People often post carpool trips on Rideshare, which might not always be an option. Luckily, Rideshare offers multiple bus routes to students and staff. Rideshare offers rides to Eau Claire on weekdays for a one-way cost of $2.50. Rideshare also offers bus service to places further away, such as the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Green Bay and more!

Thanks to Stout’s partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, you can rent a car if you’re 18, rather than the typical 25. Vehicles are available 24/7, as well as fuel, insurance and roadside assistance are included in the cost.

The university also has a bikeshare program. For the low cost of $25 for an entire school year, students can check out a bike for personal use. If you’re here during the summer as well, you can check out a bike for the entire summer for only $10.

While traversing the bitter Wisconsin conditions can be a hardship when done alone, Rideshare can help to soothe those travel woes. Whether it be through carpooling or sharing a bike ride, Rideshare is a great way to meet new people and to travel Menomonie, Dunn County and beyond.

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