Reasons Why You Should Carpool to Work or School

Everyone is probably familiar with the term carpool. Odds are, there is a carpool set up between the parents of your kid's school. But carpooling can be a great idea for more than just getting your child to school. It can also be a great idea for your commute to work, traveling to a neighboring city or town, or just going to a bar with a bunch of your friends. Carpooling can have its use in many different situations and there are many apps out there that make carpooling very easy.

What Is Carpool?

Carpool can go by a few different names in today's society. Car sharing, ride sharing, lift sharing. All meaning basically the same thing. Sharing one car with a few people going to one or more locations. Why do people do this? Well, if you and your friends are planning on going to a bar or a party and no one wants to be the designated driver, you can always split the fare and hire someone to drive you. Plus it is a lot cheaper than hailing a taxi. But if you are planning on taking a day trip, a beach trip, or even just getting to and from work, carpooling is a great idea also. This is because by organizing a carpool, it will save everyone fuel costs, tolls, just the stress of driving, and trying to find parking spaces. Carpooling is environmentally friendly and a sustainable way to travel because it reduces air pollution by lowering the total amount of carbon emissions, and traffic congestion. 

Carpooling is already a pretty popular idea. In 2009, carpool represented 43.5% of all trips in the United States, and 10% of commute trips. The majority of carpool communities (over 60%) are "fam-pools" made up of family members. It has only grown larger in the past few years with the development of numerous carpool apps for smartphones. 

Top Carpool Apps

Finding a carpool, either for your friends or with random people, is surprisingly easy. There are so many apps out there where you can schedule pick ups on a continuous basis, or find a driver for you and your friends on the spot. Just plug in the location, and the app does the rest right then and there. Plus the prices for these services are far less than you would be paying for a taxi. Just one of the many reasons why these apps have blown up in the last few years. 

  • Uber- Uber is the original rideshare company. Their app officially launched in 2011 in San Francisco, renting out only black luxury cars. Later, in 2012, Uber launched UberX which allowed regular people to sign up and drive for the company. They later had to revamp their entire hiring process by including background checks. Despite setbacks in their public image, including harassments, accusations of rape, kidnapping and others (which have been dealt with and have not happened since the revamp), they are still the leading name in rideshare. Uber gives you the option to choose your vehicle type and even view the profile of the available drivers in the area. The app pinpoints your location and the drivers can quote you a price for the trip. Uber offers other services like large sedans (UberXL), SUVs (UberSUV), luxury cars (UberLux), and the original UberBLACK. They even have a service to help disabled people called UberASSIST. Just, do not be surprised if your see prices skyrocket during New Year’s Eve as they are infamous for that. Uber operates more than one million drivers across 66 countries and 545 cities worldwide. Drivers for Uber also receive 70% of the fare, with 30% going to the company.
  • Lyft- The second largest and best (debatable, I love both Lyft and Uber equally). Originally, Lyft was the first rideshare app to feature regular people driving for their company. UberX was the answer to Lyft. Unlike Uber, Lyft only operates in some of the larger cities in the US. However, the cost between both Uber and Lyft is pretty much the same. Lyft, like Uber, offers their own premium options, types of rides, and in-app features. To me, they are basically the same, the only difference being the availability of them. If you are outside the U.S., then Uber is the one for you. Lyft also places a cap on premiums at 400%, which Uber does not do. Lyft is available to over 200 cities within the U.S.
  • Sidecar- This was the third rideshare app to come out, and it came out just a little after Lyft. Their twist on the idea is that they allow you to select a ride based on its price. Whereas Uber and Lyft quote a price based on the trip. Their big boast is that riders will always know the price of the trip upfront. You can also choose a shared ride with other people heading the same way which will decrease your overall price of the trip. So in other words, their twist is that they offer carpooling more often and with more of an incentive than the competition. Right now, Sidecar is available in 5 cities in California, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, Boston and Charlotte.
  • Waze Carpool- The awesome and widely popular community-based navigation app has come out with a rideshare app. The original app, Waze, became popular by giving live updates on road hazards, accident warnings, and upcoming speed traps on your route. What made it cool was that these updates and warnings were submitted by actual drivers on the road. Now, Waze has gotten into the rideshare game. Right now, it has commuter routes set up in California (huh, a lot of these start in Cali). Just tell the app where you live and work and get a ride from a Wazer with a similar commute, up to twice a day. The prices are preset, based on the cost of gas, and are shared by the driver and rider. Also, it works in tandem with the Waze Navigation app (of course).
  • Juno- Everyone loves the new guy (or in this case girl). This app is better for drivers as they give the drivers 90% of the overall fare. They also provide long-term drivers with restricted stock units so that they basically own part of the company. Even though the app is a bit barebones at the moment, it still provides riders with enough options to keep up with the competition. Juno offers three options. Bliss, Lux and SUV for larger groups. The app also estimates each tier's fare, provides an ETA, and will hail a nearby car when you are all ready to go.

Of course, there are many other ways to find a carpool other than the various apps that are out there. If you are trying to find a carpool for your kid's school, the best way is to organize one with a bunch of the other parents where each of you take turns being the driver. That can work either you switch every day or every week or whatever. In terms of finding a carpool to work, chat with your co-workers and find out who lives close to you and who is open to the idea of saving a bit of time and money. 

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How Much Does Carpool Save?

As it turns out, being a part of a carpool can save quite a bit of cash. Rather than you paying for all of the expenses that come with driving, you can split them up among any number of people. There are also calculators designed for this exact thing, that can help you figure out how much you will actually be saving. 

According to the American Automobile (AAA), the average cost of owning and operating a medium sized car, traveling an average of 15,000 miles per year is 55.2 cents per mile. For a 40-mile round trip commute, this would come to $22.08 per day, $436.68 per month, and $5,564.16 per year, based on commuting 21 days per month. Now all you would have to do is divide that between how many people are in the carpool and you can find out how much you would roughly be saving by carpooling to work every day. Now of course, these are just estimates and not accurate numbers, so if you really want to know for sure how much you'll be saving, you'll have to do your own math and estimates. Luckily, there are a bunch of carpool calculators that are designed to help you out a bit. 

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Benefits of Carpool

There are countless good things about getting into carpool. If you are down with meeting new people, saving money and the environment, carpooling may be a great thing to try out. Like I mentioned before, using a carpool can help save a whole lot of money. You won't have to worry about spending the full $30-40 to fill up your tank. Instead you'll be splitting that and every other expense with a few different people. Speaking about those people, carpooling is a great way for you to get to know your co-workers, other parents, or just meet brand new people. And meeting new people is, usually, a great thing. But if you would rather just stick with the people you know, you can always start a carpool with your friends. Not to mention, you won't have to worry about jamming yourself into a crowded subway or paying crazy prices in a taxi. 

Carpool and the Environment

Carpool is not just good for getting home after a night out of getting sloppy. Turns out, ride sharing is also pretty positive for the environment. It should come to no surprise that the number one cause of air pollution is CO2 emissions. And guess where those emissions come from? That’s right, automobiles. So, it is pretty obvious why carpool is good for the environment. The less cars there are on the road, the less emissions. In fact, a study done by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that for each carpool vehicle in use, there are on average 9-13 less cars on the road. It was also estimated that ride sharing helps reduce car emissions between 34% and 41% per year, per household using these services. In addition, carpool also helps conserve non-renewable energy sources. Fewer cars in the road means less gas being used.

Conclusion

Using a carpool can be a great way to save some money, reduce pollution, and get to know other people all in the same day. In today's society, everyone is about finding an easier way to do something and there are so many different ways that you can find a carpool near you within minutes. So if you want to give carpooling a try, get connected with your friends, co-workers, school parents, or just download one of the many apps and get going! For any more information, check out the rest Green and Growing has to offer!

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Patrick Sands
 

Hey, I'm Pat. I am a Millersville grad with a Bachelors of Arts in English. I love to write, play video games, watch movies and TV, basically be a total nerd whenever I can. Green and Growing is important to me because it allows me to help others be as green and eco-friendly as possible. With Climate Change being what it is, it is even more important for people to get educated about their environment. This website allows me to do my part in that. Also, I'm a huge goof who tries to add some humor into anything I write. Stay Excellent out there!

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