The golden age of the automobile is only one or two generations removed from my own, but I still feel like I've missed the boat. In my perfect idea of the 1960s, anyone standing on the side of the road with a thumb extended was granted a ride by a kind traveler with an extra seat in his van, and their first exchange went something like what follows:
Driver: "Where you headin'?"
Hitchhiker: "Anywhere but here, friend."
Since Kerouac's memoir On the Road, though, innumerate bureaucrats in the United States have cracked down on hitchhiking and made it illegal in most states, making our return to this mode of travel all the more difficult.
So you can imagine my excitement over Zimride and Ridejoy: two Echo Boomer versions of an all-but-forgotten Baby Boomer mainstay. Both services are everything that Craigslist Rideshare should be, and so much more.
Each service allow users to register using their Facebook profiles, and Zimride drivers have the added option of giving their vehicle a little bit of exposure: users can upload a photo of it and provide any interesting details (like rear-facing folding bucket seats, or a 5-lb. bag of gummy bears included in the seat price).
Browsing for drivers or passengers is a breeze in either environment, and both seem to be pretty U.S.- and Canada-friendly, too. Participants can leave references for each other (à la Couchsurfing), and Zimride even has Paypal integration for transactions between hitchers and drivers (passengers pay up front, and drivers receive the payment 24 hours after the trip has ended).
What do you think? Would you hitch a ride with either of these services? Do you think hitchhiking could be the norm once again?