Cut down the stress of your commute and reduce traffic and fuel costs by sharing a ride to work with coworkers. Carpooling can be set up to be as structured or as flexible as you and your fellow carpoolers want.
To work well, it does require some coordination, cooperation, and flexibility from those participating. Keep in mind that it can take some time to create a good, functioning carpool—be patient with it.
If your carpool is brand new, everyone should agree to try it out on a trial basis for a few days. If you decide it’s not for you, you are under no obligation to continue.
Carpooling is not only a sustainable way to travel, it also has many benefits to you including:
Less Wear & Tear
Less Stress Commuting
Improve Air Quality
If you need help transporting your kids to and from school, or if you’re a school administrator looking to improve on transportation issues for your students, Central Texas has a new secure system called Schoolpool to help you get started. And best of all, it’s FREE.
For caregivers: Schoolpool will connect you with families in your neighborhood to share in the responsibilities of getting the kids to school and back via carpooling, walking, biking, or riding CapMetro together.
For administrators: Schoolpool will relieve traffic congestion around your school during arrival and dismissal, help alleviate bus driver shortages, and create community within your school. CAMPO provides the Schoolpool platform for FREE to schools; your responsibility is to regularly promote the program to families at your school.
Be among the first schools to gain access to this new tool to help improve mobility and reduce congestion!
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is creating a new program to improve mobility as part of multiple solutions to keep pace with the region’s growth. Schoolpool is one of the initial strategies that CAMPO is rolling out to address the needs of students throughout the region.
How it works:
Families and students opt-in to a specific school’s Schoolpool program, using a link exclusive to each school. Once enrolled, families connect with nearby families or ones who live along the way to school to share the ride to school.
How to sign up for this new program:
If you are ready to get your Central Texas school enrolled in this program, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get acquainted—contact the parents on your list and arrange a get-together prior to your first day carpooling.
- Exchange important information and emergency contacts.
- Decide on a schedule: How many days a week will you travel to/from school together? Who’s driving on which days? What if a parent needs to switch a day?
- Plan ahead and be on time.
- Establish a back-up plan.
- Set ground rules (seatbelt use, timeliness, expectations).
- Have fun!
Car Sharing & Car-Lite Living
Car Sharing is renting a car by the minute or hour, letting you drive a car when you need to at a less expensive rate than renting a car by the day. With car sharing services, you may pay a one-time application fee, but there are no charges per mile or for fuel.
Car-lite living means enjoying the mobility of a car without the burden or expense of owning a car, like gas, car payments, insurance, or parking.
Most commuters who choose car-lite living take the train, bus, or other car and ride sharing options. On days when a car is necessary, there are services available for short-term rental that replace car ownership.
Car Sharing Services
Car sharing works! Zipcar members report on average:
$600/mo Savings (versus Owning a Car)
46% Increase in Public Transit
10% Increase in Bicycling
26% Increase in Walking Trips
Zero Car Maintenance
Ride Hailing & Ride Sharing
When public transit options don’t reach as far as you need to go, ride-hailing or ride-sharing services are convenient and cost-effective for short trips.
Ride hailing companies, like taxi cabs, have been around for decades and take you where you need to go for a cab fare.
Ride sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, have been on the rise in the past few years. These companies differ from taxis in that the driver uses his or her own vehicle in a peer-to-peer ride sharing format.
Less Stress Commuting
Ride Hailing Services
Ride Sharing Services
Frequently Asked Questions
You really won’t know if it’s a good long-term solution for you until you try it. But, going in, you should be willing to do two things. First, you should be willing to work out a schedule that is convenient for you and the others in the carpool. Second, you should be willing to compromise a bit on conditions in the carpool, if necessary. For example, if everyone likes to listen to a different radio station, the car radio may not be tuned to your favorite station every day.
You can find carpoolers in a number of ways. You can create an account using myCommuteSolutions, our free matching service, and search for other people in your area who are interested in carpooling.
You can put the word out at work that you’d like to carpool, either by sending out an e-mail or posting a notice in the lunchroom (download the Commute Solutions “Carpooler Wanted“ flyer in color and “Carpool Wanted“ flyer in black and white.)
You can also advertise through your neighborhood association, your local supermarket, coffee shop, or your place of worship.
Carpool members can include work or school associates you already know, or people who live near you and work at a nearby employer. Occasionally the RideShare program ends up helping commuters meet their neighbors by matching people who work at the same company and live near each other but have never met.
You can send an instant e-mail to any of your matches through myCommuteSolutions, and you don’t even have to write the message; just send the pre-written one if you prefer.
Once you’ve made the initial contact and the match has responded, we suggest you set up a time and place to meet in person to talk about possible carpool arrangements. Some good topics to address at this first meeting include:
- How often you would like to carpool, at least initially
- Who wants to drive, and how often
- Meetup/pickup time and place for both ends of the commute
If it looks like everyone wants to try out carpooling, you should:
- Choose a date to start
- Exchange cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses
- Make sure drivers have valid licenses and auto insurance
Statistics show carpooling is very safe. However, you must keep your personal safety in mind. If you are considering carpooling with people you do not know, you should meet with them in person beforehand. This meeting will serve two purposes. First, you’ll have a chance to discuss your ideas on setting up a carpool without obligating yourself to do it. Second, you’ll be able to assess your comfort level with the people. Ask questions and trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about someone, don’t carpool with that person. You can simply say that you’ve decided carpooling won’t work for you.
They can, but it’s not a requirement. In fact, a carpool may include people who will not drive at all. In these cases the “riders” should plan to pay the driver an agreed-upon amount to help out with driving costs. (See below for tips on determining a fair cost for non-drivers.)
If a carpool does switch drivers, this can be done on a daily basis, a weekly basis or longer, depending on the carpoolers’ preferences. This may change over time as new people join the carpool.
Not unless you want to. Carpooling is flexible enough so you can choose the number of days you’d like to share the ride. If you have occasional before- or after-work commitments, just let your carpoolers know that you won’t be available those days.
There are a number of different ways to organize the logistics. If carpool members live close to each other, then the driver can simply come by each person’s house to pick them up. If that’s not feasible, then carpoolers can meet at one of the members’ houses or a centrally located public place. Keep in mind that there are also park-and-ride lots throughout the region that can serve as a meetup point.
On the other end of the commute, carpoolers can plan to meet at a centrally located spot for the driver to pick them up if they don’t work at the same company.
Insurance policies vary, and it is a good idea to check your policy — primarily the Exceptions/Exclusions portions. General liability insurance covers passengers, and most policies would not exclude carpool members, but it is worth checking. Another good reason to put in a call to your agent is to see if you qualify for a carpooling discount.
This is perhaps one of the key questions asked by potential carpoolers and, unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It will vary depending on the carpool. In carpools where driving is equally shared, no money usually changes hands as each member is using their personal vehicle an equal amount of time. When only one person does the driving, or when there is an unequal split of driving responsibilities, the cost-sharing arrangement must be discussed by those in the carpool.
The carpool members are free to base the costs on whatever they may choose. However, some guidelines to consider include how much the driver spends on gas and wear and tear.
If you have an appointment or errands before or after work and need your car, don’t plan to carpool that day. If your appointment is during work, then plan to drive the carpool that day so you’ll have your car.
If you currently are in the habit of using your car to do errands, go to lunch, or go to appointments during the work day, it’s a good idea to ease yourself into carpooling by doing it just once a week initially. Then, find ways to reduce your dependence on driving so you can carpool more often: bring your lunch to work, bundle your errands or take care of them online if possible.
Of course! Every carpool is unique, but good etiquette is essential to keep it running smoothly. Good etiquette takes into account communication, courtesy, and the safety of everyone in the carpool. See this list of do’s and don’ts for carpoolers:
- Communicate with your fellow carpoolers. If you’re running a few minutes late, call them and let them know. If you can’t carpool on a particular day due to a schedule conflict, give your carpool partners ample notice so they can make other arrangements.
- Drive safely at all times.
- Keep your vehicle clean and in good condition.
- Respect any other restrictions the carpool has agreed on, such as smoking, eating or drinking.
- Make a habit of being late.
- Ask your carpoolers to make extra stops along the way so you can take care of personal errands. The carpool is meant to help everyone with their commutes, period.
- Bring up controversial topics like religion or politics unless you know your fellow carpoolers well. While some people enjoy debating the issues, others may prefer a quieter commute.
- Have lengthy cell phone conversations while you’re in the carpool.
Both car-lite living options have perks and cases to consider.
Because you are paying by your time and not by the mile, car sharing is great for:
- Longer trips
- Reaching location with poor transit access
- Running errands with several short stops
Because you are letting someone else be your driver, ride sharing is best for:
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Getting home safely after a night out
- Getting to and from public transit
- Getting around an unfamiliar city without having to learn the transit system or rent a car
- Everyday transportation if your driver’s license is suspended or revoked
Tools & Resources
Our carpool matching and trip-planning tool, myCommuteSolutions, has an easy tracking system through the commute calendar. This tool is free to both individuals and businesses and enables users to track:
- cost savings
- calories burned
- fuel saved
- pollution reduction.
To connect with potential carpool buddies, log on to myCommuteSolutions.com and create a profile to use the free carpool matching service.
Large companies often have a program to help employees find carpooling solutions, which may be available through the human resources department. If this is not available, myCommuteSolutions can set up custom sites for businesses which allows employees to search for carpool buddies within your organization. Have your employer contact Commute Solutions to create their own custom ride-matching system and find a co-worker to carpool with!
News & Media
- Are You Ready to Rock (The Car-Free Festival Experience)? September 27, 2019
- Car2Go is backing out of Austin as crippling mobility issues continue September 23, 2019
- The Small-City Vision Zero Challenge September 23, 2019