Yalie develops app to help students organize ride shares
RideBuddies, an app that allows Yalies to find other students to share an Uber or Lyft with, launched this past week.
When traveling between campus and airports in the area, Yalies often turn to their classmates to share rides and lower costs. Now, students can use a new app developed by Evan Lee ’25 to ease the process.
Instead of having to sift through dozens of messages scattered across Facebook, GroupMe and other social media platforms, Lee’s app, named RideBuddies, lets Yale students coordinate ride shares with each other on one single platform. Users can create a request for a certain day and time, or they can search for existing requests and message the poster to coordinate sharing a ride. Currently, the app allows users to share Uber or Lyft rides with others going between Bradley International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Yale University.
“I thought of this idea because the [class of] 2025 GroupMe chat is spammed with messages [asking to share rides] and then there’s also a Facebook group, but it all looks very inefficiently done,” Lee said. “If you go in the Facebook group there is a list of posts, but you have no way to sort through them and can’t really do anything about it. So I figured I could make an app that streamlines the process. I’ve never built an app before, so I just picked everything up as I went.”
RideBuddies officially launched on the Apple app store on March 3. Before creating the app, Lee had minimal experience with coding. He said he ran into coding errors around five times a day when designing the app over break.
To test the app’s functionality before launching, Lee enlisted his friends and family members as alpha testers. Then, after emailing 270 students who were active in the “Yale University Rideshare Group” on Facebook, he identified 44 individuals willing to help with further testing — the beta testers.
These individuals interacted with fake users looking for rides, which tested the app’s scheduling and messaging functions and also gave direct feedback to Lee. Some of this feedback resulted in color scheme changes and the addition of autofill options for airport and pick-up and drop-off time selections.
Axel de Vernou ’25, who was a beta tester for RideBuddies, spoke to the utility of the app as someone who frequently Ubers to and from airports.
“Instead of juggling various platforms like GroupMe, Facebook and personal messaging to find rides for travel, there will now be one inclusive, universal app,” de Vernou wrote to the News. “I will certainly use it before and after breaks to plan out transportation in advance and know who I am traveling with.”
In addition to the alpha and beta testers, Lee also worked closely with mentors from the Yale Entrepreneurial Society Incubator program, which is a startup incubator that helps Yalies develop their ideas into reality.
Ben Phifer ’25 has already successfully used the app to plan his spring break travel. Phifer said he created a request on the app and has received messages from two people willing to rideshare, and reported having an overall “smooth” experience with the app interface.
Currently, only those with a Yale Google account can use the app, which Phifer characterized as a plus.
“You know that you can ride to the airport with someone you can trust and that connection overall leads to a smoother experience,” Phifer told the News.
For the future, Lee said he hopes to expand to an Android version of the app and potentially widen the audience beyond Yale-affiliated users.
As of Tuesday, the app had 66 total downloads.