We asked the experts at Carpool.ca for their ideas on how to start a carpool. Here are their suggestions.
Step 1: Pick your pool
There are several basic carpool types:
- Designated Driver: This carpool generally has one driver and one or more passengers. The driver provides the vehicle and passengers pay a daily, weekly or monthly fare based on expenses such as fuel, maintenance and parking.
- Alternating: Enjoy the simplicity of a carpool in which driving is alternated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Costs are incurred only during the period in which you are required to drive. Or, put simply — when you drive you pay, when you ride it’s free.
- Employer: Some employers encourage employees to share the ride to and from work by allowing the use of company vehicles. Employees pay a fare to offset additional fuel, maintenance and insurance costs. As most company vehicles sit idle in parking lots after business hours this system can benefit both employers and employees.
- Fleet Car/Vanpool Program: Many large North American cities have regional car and vanpool programs which provide groups of commuters with vehicles to travel to and from work or school. Fares are usually based on round trip kilometres and cover the operating expenses of the vehicle. In most instances, the driver is a volunteer member of the group. Check with your municipality for a local program.
Step 2: Find your members
Let your friends and co-workers know you are starting a carpool. You may be able to fill your car up quicker than you think. You can also post flyers in your local grocery store, library or online in chat rooms. Many municipalities also have Ride Match Programs.
Step 3: Set the rules
Once you have your members, then its time to set some guidelines:
- Where will the pick up and drop off locations be?
- Is payment done weekly or monthly?
- How will cancellations/sickness be handled?
- Who picks the music?
- Is smoking allowed?
- How long will you wait for latecomers?
Step 4: Arrange the schedule
Once you’ve got everything settled then you want to create an actual schedule. Try to arrange things a week ahead of time so you can stay organized. You may want to look at a free program called
Divide the Ride that helps you create a master car pool list with everyone’s contact information and availability. If someone cancels a message is sent to everyone via their cellphone and email.
Don’t have a vehicle but want to car pool? Check out these great online resources:
Do you have something to say about the state of mass transit in this country? Check out the RD Debate Sound Off on Public Transit.