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Zimride, the startup that allows people to arrange shared car rides together, has been doing quite well within semi-private, paid networks since its 2007 launch. Starting Wednesday, the company is set to reach a much bigger audience with two new features: Its first public ride-sharing route, and a new in-app payment system.

Here is how Zimride has worked so far: It’s a software-as-a-service platform for allowing people to schedule shared rides within their existing social networks. It has proven to be popular: There are currently 110 Zimride communities at universities and companies across 30 states in the US, allowing co-workers and fellow students to carpool for things from daily commutes to hundred-plus- mile trips home for the holidays.

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