We address 6 tips to make your carpool as efficient as possible for everyone involved.
- Owning a vehicle is the second-largest expense in many Canadians lives, and many aren’t aware of all the expenses associated with driving. From gas to maintenance, owning a vehicle has been estimated to cost $9,500 per year. Carpooling can save you money and extra maintenance.
- One of the greatest benefits of carpooling is being able to drive in HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes during rush hour traffic. These are designed to move more cars more smoothly through congested areas, making for a quicker and more reliable commute, and also lessening congestion in regular lanes. Carpooling means a less stressful commute.
- Reducing the amount you drive helps the environment. Environmentally friendly transportation methods such as carpooling and public transit are all personal practices that contribute to a greener society.
Create a schedule. A regular schedule will help your group avoid confusion. You might choose to create a schedule online and share it via a designated social media group or email, or simply communicate your routine via email and mark it in your own calendar. This will depend on how small or large your group is and how often you communicate.
Consider adding to your schedule:
- Each person’s contact information
- Designated meeting points
- How long you’ll agree to wait for latecomers
- Whether confirmation is required the night before
- When gas payments are due
- Any specific rules regarding smoking or perfume, etc.
Appoint a driver. Determine whether one designated person will drive at all times and others will contribute for gas, or if your group will take turns. If you’re sharing driving duties, rotate weekly or daily as you see fit and decide upon a system for compensation.
A fair compensation rate for gas will depend on the distance being driven and the type of car being driven. Use CAA’s Driving Cost Calulator tool to determine your total cost per kilometer, then decide on a number that all parties feel comfortable with.
Locate a convenient meeting point. If you’re not picking up riders at each of their houses, or it’s more convenient to meet at a central location such as city square or coffee shop, agree upon the best point and time for your group to meet.
The Ministry of Transportation Ontario provides free carpool parking lots near dozens of highway interchanges throughout the province. These are ideal places to meet up with your prearranged partners before entering the highway, and are free for anyone to use.
Sharing cars? Notify your insurance provider. If sharing vehicles with any other drivers is a possibility within your group, be sure to contact your insurance provider to make your coverage sufficient. Our Trouble Free Option includes civil liability coverage, which will protect you in the event of damage to a vehicle you have borrowed or rented.
Starting a carpool
To start a carpool at work, put a map of your area in the staff or lunch room and ask interested colleagues to write their name and contact information on a Post-It, fix the note to the map with a push pin to the area in which they live. Contact those interested to determine your arrangements.
To start a carpool at your kid’s school, first check with the school administration office to find out if your kid’s school already has a carpooling program in place. If not, express your interest to start a carpool at a PTA meeting, in a school newsletter, or on school bulletin boards.
Drivers should be extra mindful when dropping off kids near schools before and after school, which are busy times. Returning to a school mindset requires both students and drivers to be diligent entering and exiting vehicles.