The introduction of a proposed social media website intended to connect Cedar Park residents with rides helped spark a debate about creating more public transportation options.

The creators of, a 10,000-member national online network, presented plans during an Aug. 6 public meeting to make Cedar Park the first city to fully embrace the website as its alternative to public transportation. Councilman Don Tracy hosted the Austin-based team, and approximately three dozen residents attended the meeting.

Cedar Park has been without a public transportation option since voters opted out of Capital Metro in 1998 to use a dedicated half-cent sales tax for economic development initiatives within the city. Tracy said the Acts of Sharing model would be an alternative to traditional public transportation.

"We can build a network that connects no-choice riders to choices and choice riders to options," he told those in attendance.

Brian Boitmann, co-founder, said the free service connects existing networks of people from the same neighborhoods, organizations and jobs to carpool or pick up those without transportation. People can also seek rides to special events, he said.

"You share with people you trust and confide in, and that's how this is designed," he said. "If you are looking for something specific, you can connect with people who are already semi-connected on a trust-based relationship to help with those needs."

Those in attendance praised the idea for its merit, but many agreed it did not fill the need for a more comprehensive public transportation option. Herb Zwernemann, board member of the Treasure of the Hills Senior Center and Cedar Park AARP member, said there are seniors who would directly benefit from this program, but it will not necessarily be enough by itself.

"If the city is going to invest into transportation planning, I want to see something more comprehensive," Zwernemann said. "This is a niche."

Others expressed concerns about accessibility to the online service, how to maintain privacy once information is publicly available and liability after groups connect for rides.

Tracy said he appreciated the residential input and will address any concerns before he presents the proposal Aug. 9 to City Council. If he gains council approval, the city could contribute money to help maintain the website.

"We'll have some rough idea of what that might look like from a budget standpoint hopefully on Thursday night," he said.