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Foundations for Successful Carpooling

Like most worthwhile endevours, a successful carpool takes some forethought. A few simple questions while establishing the relationship and common courtesy can help pave the way to a smooth and successful carpool. Here are some suggestions and guidelines we've found to be helpful.

Setting the Foundation

For many, a preliminary meeting in a public location is an ideal way to start. Getting to know the person over a cup of coffee before arrangements have been made will give all parties a chance to get a feel for the situation, ask pertinent questions and share any concerns or special needs they may have.

(* When meeting with strangers, common sense and prudence should prevail. We recommend you review our Safety Suggestions for helpful guidelines.)

Logistics

Work Schedules
  • For many, work schedules are suprisingly flexible. Determine who will drive and ride on what dates and how the rotation will work. Use the RideSearch Calendar or have your calendar handy. Don't forget about holidays and your holiday work schedules.
  • Will you ride every day, or only a few days a week?
Pick-up / Drop-off
Determine the initial pick-up and drop-off points. It is common for new carpooler to set their initial pick-up/drop-off points to a public locations or intersection. Some prefer Door-to-Door arrangements. With RideSearch you can specify a physical address or intersection when specifying pick-up/drop-off locations.)

Money

> First

Decide how the fares will be calculated. We suggest a formula similar to this:

(Total Miles * Cost Per Mile) / Number of Riders = The Daily Fare Per Carpooler

Example:
Total Miles = 30
Cost per Mile = $0.27
Number of Riders = 3

(30 * 0.27) / 3 = $2.70 (per rider, per day)

> Second

Decide how and when the fares will be collected and then be consistent. Integrity in the financial aspects of the carpool are essential to maintaing "good will" within the group.

Comfort and Courtesy

It has been said that, "Good fences make good neighbors". [ ? ] Discussing the items below can be very helpful in establishing as strong foundation for a sucessful carpool.
  • Will food or beverages be allowed in the car?
  • Is smoking acceptable?
  • What about unplanned stops like Starbucks or the drug store?
  • The Radio: On or Off? If on, to a mutually agreeable station or does the driver get to choose?
  • Do considerations need to be made for allergies like pets or cologne?

What If's...

What If...Someone gets sick, has car trouble or their alarm doesn't go off?
Decide ahead of time how you will handle this situation. Who gets contacted and how? Will the individual who could not fulfill thier obligations for the day have to do a "make up day"?

What If...One of the parties is late?
How long will people be expected to wait? (5 minutes is typical)

What If...One of the parties is always late?
Being chronically late is not only disrespectful to everyone in the carpool but it can also have repercussions at work. Clear guidelines should be set regarding tardiness and the closure of a carpooling arragement.

What If...There is an emergency and the driver will not be able to drop-off their riders
This should be quite rare, but each person should determine how they will handle this situation. For most, friends, relatives or co-workers will be happy to help out in an emergency situation. In a worst case scenario public transportation or calling a cab service is a viable alternative.