Review these guidelines to get the most out of your carpool arrangement.
- Contact everyone on your match list. Contact all commuters who live and work or attend school near you and have similar travel hours, even if they have not selected the category you're looking for (e.g., drive only, share driving, ride only) to see if they may have more flexibility than they originally indicated.
- Cover the basics. In making your carpool arrangements, be sure to get answers to the following questions:
- How often will you carpool?
- How many carpool partners will there be?
- Who has a vehicle? If everyone has a car, who will do the driving?
- Do all drivers have full insurance coverage?
- Where will you meet? Carpoolers can pick each other up at home or meet at a mutually convenient location, such as a park and ride (see homepage download link) lot.
- When will you meet? People's work or school schedules are often more flexible than you think.
- Discuss carpool costs. If commuters rotate the driving equally, money doesn't have to change hands. Passengers who do not drive or drive only rarely generally chip in to cover the costs of gas and parking. (See Carpool FAQ for more information.)
- Get to know you fellow carpoolers. Carpoolers who don't know each other may feel more comfortable meeting prospective partners before they drive together for the first time. Plan to talk on the phone or meet at a public place such as a local coffee shop to discuss carpool specifics and decide whether or not you would feel comfortable sharing a ride. If you are uncomfortable after meeting, you can simply choose not to pursue the rideshare arrangement. You are not obligated to carpool. If you do feel comfortable enough to rideshare, you might want to agree to a trial rideshare period to test the waters.
- Establish some rules. Each carpool member should have a chance to express his/her needs and concerns. Carpoolers should agree upon certain ground rules at the outset such as:
- Food, coffee, smoking and perfume/cologne usage
- Radio choices
- How long drivers will wait for tardy passengers
- Who is notified if someone is sick or unable to carpool on a given trip? How are they contacted?
- Driving safely
- Please encourage everyone to use seatbelts for their safety and the safety of others.
- While you should not be a "backseat driver," you should immediately address any concerns about a driver's driving practices.
- Give carpooling a trial run. Many commuters start carpooling on a trial basis for a month or two. You can always add more days and/or more carpoolers in the future once a routine has been established. Don't worry about getting the details perfect right away.
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.
- 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 rules the carpool has agreed upon, such as waiting time and restrictions on 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.
- Bring up controversial topics such as religion or politics unless you know your carpoolers very well. While some people may enjoy discussing or even debating the issues, others may prefer a quieter commute.
- Have lengthy cell phone conversations while you're in the carpool.