Why would I consider carpooling?
Carpooling reduces each person’s travel costs and is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than many alternative transport options.
People who carpool are able to:
- Get access to carpooling lanes
- Relax while traveling
- Enjoy traveling with others
- Save travel time
- Share vehicle expenses (fuel, tolls)
- Reduce traffic congestion and parking spot shortages
Sounds great, but what exactly is carpooling?
Carpooling is the shared use of cars by persons with similar travel needs (i.e. origin and destination are the same or compatible, e.g. the driver drops the passenger on his way). The car usually belongs to the driver. Passengers pay part of the costs in exchange for a seat in the car.
Carpooling has enjoyed high popularity in Europe for years. In the US, after a drop to only 10% of work trips carpooled in 2009, an upwards trend is expected in the coming years, facilitated by social networking sites, smartphones – and rising gas prices.
How is carpooling different to car sharing?
Car sharing is a short term rental of a car. This might or might not include people other than the driver. The person renting the car pays for the usage of the car (whereas in ridesharing users usually pay for a seat).
What about Lyft, Uber and Sidecar?
These three, along with several similar services, let a passenger request/book a trip with a driver. They are often seen as competition for taxi services as the drivers make special trips for the passenger(s). Drivers are usually locals, but screened by the service provider before being allowed to take passengers. This is also known as real-time ridesharing.
Where can I join carpools?
Here are some popular sites – let us know which one’s your favourite in the comments below.
- Craigslist Rideshare (navigate to your city)
- Zimride (+ iPhone app)
- Carma Carpooling (+ app for iPhone & Android)
Our top tips for a safe carpooling trip
- Check your travel partner’s profiles.
- Meet or talk on the phone first before going on a shared ride.
- Copy your travel partner’s driver’s license or other photo ID information (or take a picture with your phone and send it to a person you trust).
- Ask for personal references from your travel partner.
- Tell friends about your itinerary & give them your travel partner’s phone number.
- Trust your feeling. Don’t travel with someone you don’t trust! Your ridesharing website might refund your money.
- Don’t forget to write a review after the ride.
- Burbank, CJ, Brinckerhoff, P & Nigro, N (2012), “Ridesharing: Context, Trends and Opportunities”, The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Available online [accessed 15 April 2014]
- carpooling.com (n.d.) “Carpooling Without Borders”. Available online [accessed 15 April 2014]
- Chan, ND & Shaheen, SA (2012), “Ridesharing in North America: Past, Present, and Future”, in:Transport Reviews, no. 32:1, pp 93-112. Available online [accessed 15 April 2014]
- Li, J, Embry, PM, Mattingly, SP, Sadabadi, KF, Rasmidatta, I & Burris, MW (2007), “Who Chooses to Carpool and Why? Examination of Texas Carpoolers”, in: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, no. 2021, pp 110-117. Available online [accessed 15 April 2014]
- Wikipedia contributors (2014), “Carpool”, in: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Available online [accessed 15 April 2014]