Carpooling tips and FAQs

My schedule is really hectic. How could I possibly sort out carpooling?

First of all, you don’t have to carpool five days a week. You can arrange to carpool as many or as few days a week as you like. It’s up to you.

But what if…

  • I need my car during the day?
    Be the designated driver of your carpool.
  • I get into an uncomfortable carpool situation?
    Establish rules before you carpool to avoid problems in the long run. Also, you can always carpool on a trial basis before making a commitment.
  • I need my car for personal appointments or errands?
    You could plan activities on specific days and then car pool the rest of the time. Sharing a ride for just two or three days a week still saves you some petrol and helps the environment.
  • I have an emergency during the day and I have to go home?
    The unexpected is bound to come up and you should have a plan arranged in advance with your carpool members. You’d be surprised at how flexible people can be. Each person should specify how they want to be contacted at home, work, or their mobile phone with regards to emergency carpool changes. Have a contingency plan that will get you to work or home if your carpool leaves without you.
  • But I don’t have a car!
    No problem. Join a carpool that doesn’t need a driver and pay your share of the petrol.

Tips for setting up a car-pool

Just like screening potential flatmates, you need to consider what factors are important to your carpool. Here are some general tips for contacting potential car-pool partners and setting up your carpool:

  1. Get comfortable. Talk on the phone or arrange to meet beforehand somewhere to interview the potential carpool partners – bring a friend along for company if you’d like.
  2. Agree on the little things: smoking/non-smoking, food and drinks okay or not, radio on or off (and what stations); raise any other personal annoyances (e.g., use of mobile phones, passengers reading/doing paperwork).
  3. Decide who will drive or what days each of you will drive if sharing driving responsibility.
  4. When will you meet: set a timeframe and decide what to do if people are late.
  5. Where will you meet: arrange drop-off and pick-up points at home or wherever is comfortable (if you don’t want your carpool knowing your home address, use a nearby corner for your pick-up).
  6. Cost: if driving isn’t equally shared, decide how petrol and parking costs will be shared.
  7. Decide how to deal with the unpredictable: for example, illness, over-sleeping, mechanical problems. Decide ahead of time how to handle such situations. Decide who is notified if someone is ill, and establish how each carpool member wants to be contacted in such emergencies (e.g., work, home or cell-phone number, or email). If one of your carpool partners makes a carpool late, agree early on how long drivers should wait at each stop. Have a back-up plan for yourself if your carpool ride must leave without you (leaving you either at home or on campus).

Once you have formed your carpool group, here are some general tips for the smooth running of the carpool

  1. Be on time, whether driving or being picked up. If you can't make it, call in PLENTY of time for others in the carpool to make other arrangements.
  2. If you are driving, make sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank and that your car is running well and is clean. No one wants extra stops on the way.
  3. Don't make or request detours, e.g., for the morning paper or other errands.
  4. Be considerate when it comes to your own habits and tolerant of others.
  5. Your car insurance cover is not affected by carpooling.
  6. Importantly if you are driving, drive safely. You are responsible for the lives of others.