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Your Take: Do You Carpool?

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With gas around, or over depending on where you are, $4.00 a gallon for regular unleaded, are you car pooling more often? Here in Howard County, Maryland, the Park & Ride’s have been feeling the pains of more carpoolers as they rush to expand and meet the increased demand. On the whole, more people are car pooling but, at least amongst my friends, there hasn’t been a significant increase in the number of people sharing rides. Carpooling once a week is the quickest way save 20% on your gasoline bill (wrap your head around that amazing math!).

When I had a commute, I didn’t carpool with my wife. We could’ve, as I was only a minor detour, but we didn’t because of her hours (technically, it’s because of my laziness as you’ll see). Her commute takes about 35 minutes, mine was about 20, but she sometimes had to be in by around 7AM to meet with third shift. That meant she had to get on the road by at least 6:30AM. I wasn’t having any of that. The end of the day was sometimes even more unpredictable, sometimes she would be on the road by 6:00PM or 6:30PM. Sometimes she’d have to stay even later, it was simply too much work time for me… hence my mentioning it was really my laziness.

So, could we have carpooled? Yes, it’s not like we were in two totally different directions. We didn’t because I didn’t want to get up early and stay at the office so late. What’s your take on carpooling? Waste of time? Totally worth it?

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “Your Take: Do You Carpool?”

  1. philip says:

    The carpool that meets closest to my house woule take driving almost as far ~1 mile less, than just driving to work on my own. My commute is only about 18 minutes driveway to driveway. Yes I carry a stopwatch in my vehicle with me and have averaged out quite a few days of timing it.

    Now if my office had decent facilities for it I would try commuting on my bike, but I am not ready for doing sponge baths in the restrooms at work yet.

  2. jim says:

    Philip… I’m not ready for you to take sponge baths either and I don’t work with or know you. :)

  3. Jody says:

    I tried carpooling last winter – I liked the gas savings but it still wasn’t worth it to me. Why? Because the person I was carpooling with was my boss…when it was time to leave he wouldn’t be ready and I’d regularly have to wait 10-15 minutes or longer for him. Not a lot of time but it was annoying and I felt it was a power play on his part. I might try carpooling again some day, but not with my boss!

  4. Penny says:

    I don’t carpool either, but it’s not too bad because my office is only about 12 minutes from my apartment…

  5. Ken says:

    My wife and I try to carpool most days, then other days we ride our bikes in. Then sometimes we each need to drive ourselves.

  6. Rick Morley says:

    I don’t carpool, but I only work 3.5 miles away from home, and I work very long hours anyway, so carpooling isn’t really worth it for me.

  7. Jadin says:

    Personally don’t carpool, but when I first moved here (an outlying community of the City) I was astonished at the phenom I saw every morning at the local BART. People, obviously from further out on the line or from the local area, stand in line at the bus stop, and basically hitch a ride into SF. Every day a line of people and a line of cars. Prearranged? I don’t know. Amazing to see, though.
    There are also a fair number of commuter vans, subsidized either by the employer or some other group. Its been like this for years, but I suspect even more are now taking advantage of these alternatives. Lots more crazy bicyclers, too :-)
    Sheesh, your wife works long hours! I suspect if you were commuting now, you’d be carpooling. Getting to work a little early, or sticking around a little later isn’t a big deal when you save big $ not driving (kinder to the environment, too). I would think lots of folks could get by on one less car, too, saving tons of money on insurance, maintenance, etc.
    Oh, forgot, the biggest motivation for the drivers is probably to be able to get in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane, go faster and NOT pay the toll during peak times!

  8. My job is particularly amenable to carpooling, but I occasionally take a day to work from home.

  9. Jim's Wife says:

    As Jim’s wife, I do have to say that I wasn’t always at work for 12 hours a day!

    However if I was able to carpool with some of my collegues I would do so. The hardest thing is, for me, to find someone who lives close that works similiar hours.

    @ Jadin: In DC, they have “slug” lanes where people will ride with strangers so that they can take advantage of the HOV lanes… it seems to work great!

  10. Glenn Lasher says:

    I don’t carpool, no. I have tried to stir interest in it, since there are several of my co-workers who live in the same area as I do, but I have gotten little more than lip service in response. My answer, not just as a commuter, but also as an environmentalist, has been to use our region’s four-county-wide public transit system (This would be CDTA in the Albany-Schenectady-Rensselaer-Saratoga county region of New York State).

    While not the greatest public transit system ever built (I think that honour goes to MTA in New York City), they do a very good job, and are expanding their routes and services at a pretty rapid rate, while somehow keeping the base fare at $1.00.

  11. Natalie says:

    I carpool at least three times a week. We alternate each day with a different person driving their car each day. That way we don’t have to worry about how much money to give to one person. It has been working fantastically. I commute about 50 miles roundtrip. Because of carpooling, I’ve only had to gas my car once every 1.5 to 2 weeks. It works because I carpool with people within my department. We have very similar schedules and pretty flexible managers who understands that we are locked in by our carpool schedule.

  12. I go to great lengths to carpool whenever possible – this summer anyways. My boyfriend and I carpool nearly daily now. We both go in at 8:30, but I finish at 1:00 and he doesn’t finish until 5:30. We’re both working at the college we attend right now, so I just hang around and use my laptop until he gets done.

    Ideal? No. Gas savings? Tremendous. I don’t think either of us has filled our tanks in a month!

  13. Tie8wd says:

    I am retired now, but was in a carpool with four other guys, and we drove about 30 miles from one medium size town to a smaller town.

    We tried alternating daily, but that runs into logistics problems. I worked better to each take a turn for a week.

    The only rule we had was that the driver had the choice of what was on the radio. If you didn’t agree to that you wouldn’t be accepted into or stay in the carpool. That was non-negotiable and no griping was allowed.

    However, people kept getting promoted or transfered until there were only two of us left and we worked in different groups with different schedules, so it became an on/off carpool.

    While it worked, our savings were about 25% of what they could be, so I was able to put more into my 401K.


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