Science and Tech Editor
Home to roughly 26,000 students, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) students come from near and far. As a means of affordable transportation, students have developed a system known as rideshare. Rideshare is known by many as an essential carpooling system on Facebook used by UCSB students. It helps students find rides with other fellow students traveling to or near the same destination and although there are many plus sides to rideshare, it has some negative attributes.
One significant problem is the unreliability of rideshare, with drivers canceling the last second, leaving students panicking to find a last-minute ride. Another issue with rideshare is that the safety of the unknown driver isn’t guaranteed. Knowing these negative downsides, a start-up by the name of PoolUp has aimed to create a company that reinvents rideshares, helping students secure reliable, affordable, and safe transportation.
Michael Chong, the CEO of PoolUp and a recent UCSB graduate, has recruited an assortment of bright and eager UCSB students to help create PoolUp. The Bottom Line sat down for an interview with Janny Xue, a fourth-year psychology and brain sciences major, who currently works full time as a user experience designer and the temporary design lead.
Xue stumbled upon PoolUp while looking on the UCSB Facebook page for a rideshare to Los Angeles. Intrigued by the potential good PoolUp could do for students, Xue reached out to Michael Chong for an intern position.
Xue asserted how much she “loved the product” that PoolUp was offering. “I think streamlining this service is so important because all you see on the UCSB rideshare page is people’s drivers flaking on the last minute, looking for a ride,” Xue explained.
The company’s goal is to create an “efficient platform that filters ratings for both passengers and drivers” while maintaining an aspect of affordability that caters to college students. This rating and review system would include, for example, complaints about a driver who is speeding or a driver who is texting while driving.
Xue believes that this system is essential to PoolUp as “it’s very important to have a sense of trust to ease the anxieties of passengers … especially during a time where sexual assault is a common worry among college students.”
As the experience designer, Xue explained how several of PoolUps implementations are inspired by her personal experiences with rideshare in the past couple of years at UCSB. “I am a gaucho, and it makes me so proud to work at PoolUp,” Xue explained. “When I look at PoolUp, I see it becoming a platform used by the UC system as a whole.”
Xue is among the many bright-minded UCSB students working behind the scenes to create and perfect PoolUp.
PoolUp is set to launch in early 2021, as the team is working to create the best features for the application explicitly catered to student needs. During these unknown times regarding student life, The Bottom Line is proud to showcase and recognize students with innovative ideas that aim to make student life both safer and more comfortable. The Bottom Line will continue to follow PoolUp’s journey and other projects by UCSB students.
Illustration by Esther Liu