Want an easier way to work? How about sharing the ride with one or two other commuters? Your trip to work will be more relaxing when someone helps with driving; you'll have more money in your wallet when you share the cost of gas; you'll reduce your vehicle maintenance costs when you share the expenses with just one other person, and you take a car off our congested roads.
You can carpool every day or just occasionally, It's a sociable way to start and end your work day, and with just one rider, you cut your commute costs in half. Add more riders and save even more.
How do you find someone to carpool with?
To find a carpool partner, sign up online at the Sacramento Region Commuter Club, log in the box at left, or click on the "New User" button in the box.
When you register in Commuter Club, be sure to check " Include me in the Ridematch database tool" so you can see possible carpoolers and so you will be included on lists when someone looks for a carpool match. If you're already registered, click My Profile and make sure that the "Include me.." box is checked. When you do this, you also type the name that people will see. (When you are on a list, your identifying information is not revealed.)
You can also note your carpool preferences. You may want to Drive Only, or Ride Only, or maybe the type of music or non-smoking is important. You can even modify where you match from, if you prefer to meet somewhere other than your home, a park-and-ride lot, for example. When you're set, click Find a Ride in the top menu bar.
If you don't find anyone in Commuter Club, ask your co-workers, or find an information board at work where you can post a card with your name, home zip and work phone number. Keep checking back in Commuter Club though, as more people join and look for someone to carpool with.
What if I or my carpooler have to get home?
If you carpool at least 60 percent of your work week, the TMA will provide an Emergency Ride Home if you don't have a car at work and you or an immedicate family member have an emergency, or if your carpool partner has to leave and takes the car.
To qualify for this FREE service your employer must be a member of the Sacramento TMA and you must be registered in Commuter Club. For more information on when you can use the Emergency Ride Home program click here or call the Sacramento TMA at 737-1513.
Etiquette, costs and safety
The thought of sharing a ride to work with someone you don't know may feel a little strange. The key to putting your mind at ease is to discuss some ground rules in advance. Arrange to meet for coffee or lunch with your potential carpooler to see if you'll enjoy riding together. You may want to set a trial period for the carpool so that if things don't work out you can stop carpooling without feeling uncomfortable. Use the time to work out the details of commuting together:
- How many days a week will you carpool to work? Some carpools operating every weekday, some just once or twice a week.
- Decide if you are going to alternate driving, drive every day or ride every day. If it is not a shared driving arrangement, agree on a payment schedule.
- Decide where the designated pick-up point will be. Some carpools have door-to-door service; others meet at a convenient church or grocery store parking lot.
- Establish a time schedule and pick-up points and respect everyone’s time by being prompt.
- Establish a rule for latecomers. Decide how long the carpool will wait for a passenger (3 - 5 minutes is usually recommended).
- Will there be any unscheduled stops allowed or will the carpool avoid side trips on the way home?
- Keep the car clean, well maintained and filled with enough gas for each trip.
- Decide on radio use, smoking policies and other similar concerns before you start carpooling. Is eating/drinking allowed? Which station will you listen to on the radio? News channels are usually great ideas for updates on traffic, sports, stocks and weather.
- Set up a plan of communication. If someone can't make it on a given day, let the driver know in advance the day before. Don't forget to give notice of vacation, personal or overtime plans.
- Have a back-up plan for emergency situations. Who will be your alternate drivers in cases of illness or emergency before the morning commute? If your driver must leave early because of a family emergency or stay late for unexpected overtime, what will the other riders do? The Sacramento TMA offers a Emergency Ride Home (below) that will provide you a taxi ride home for these situations.
Where can we meet if we don't pick up at home?
Meet your carpool partners at a Park-&-Ride-Lot for safety and convenience.
Am I committed to this?
One of the reasons people hesitate to carpool is that they are afraid they are making a commitment to do it everyday. Many people have arrangements to rideshare one or two days per week, and carpooling even once a week is better than not at all. There are many people out there who want to but don't want to make an every day commitment. You can find them by going online to www.sacregioncommuterclub.org to request a matchlist made personally for you.