Web site: http://www.goosenetworks.com

Beta Service for Microsoft Employees

Prior to launching the Washington State Department of Transportation-sponsored GOOSE Express service, Goose Networks conducted a beta test of its ‘first-of-its-kind’ SMS-powered ridematching service. Between September 2006 and January 2007, Microsoft employees living in the downtown Seattle area were eligible to use an SMS-based version of the service at no-cost. Participants used the service to find ridesharing partners to and from campus in real-time by simply sending a free text message from their existing mobile phones.

In order to properly reward users, the beta service automatically split the fuel-cost of every trip between rider and driver (GooseGas). In addition, Goose Networks provided the following incentives for its beta users:

* $10 GooseGas credit upon registration.
* $10 gas card upon first being matched as a driver.
* $5 gas card upon first being matched as a driver.

[Would like information on response, number of matches, lessons learned.]

Beta test snapshot

Here is a snapshot of the Beta test page.

Goose Express

In August 2007, Goose Networks launched GOOSE Express, a no-strings carpool network designed for commuters with irregular schedules.

The service was aimed at individual commuters and allowed users to plan one-way, ad hoc carpools. In addition to planning trips via SMS text message, an online planning interface was added (accessible via www.readysetgoose.com). GooseGas accounts were disabled for the Washington State-sponsored service.

To plan trips on the go via SMS, users simply sent a text message to GOOSE (46673) to request a driver or a passenger. If a match was available, both rider and driver were notified via email and/or text message and directed to a neutral meeting spot. If either party was running late, the service could connect both parties anonymously via cell phone. Each user defined his or her own rideshare network, limiting potential matches to just friends and co-workers, or open to all users.

One of the big challenges that faced the GOOSE Express service was getting users to return with regularity to a website specifically set up to manage ridesharing. In August 2008, with the 12 month project at its end, Goose Networks discontinued support for GOOSE Express. Seeing more opportunity to help Washington State commuters by providing organizations with tools that help them influence travel habits among their members, the company refocused the project on a simple ‘rideshare widget’ Goose Rideshare Widget that can can be easily added to any existing web page.