What is carpooling?
Carpooling is when you organise to join another person or people in a car to get to a similar destination and there’s no official payment made for the driver’s time. It is not hitchhiking, which is where you wait on the side of the road hoping to get a lift. If you carpool on a regular basis with the same person then you might contribute towards expenses but, unless the person is licenced to carry passengers, then they cannot legally charge for the ride; it’s at your discretion whether you contribute. Some carpooling offers may require that you share the petrol and/or parking costs for the journey on an equitable basis. Make sure you agree on this upfront, though. Passengers are not liable for any fines the driver incurs.
Carpooling is also known as ride sharing, car sharing or lift sharing.
How do you get carpool rides in Australia?
Create an account on any of these websites and you can post or respond to ride requests.
Needless to say, take safety precautions before you get in the car with someone you don’t know. If you feel unsafe, don’t go.
Advantages of carpooling
Carpooling reduces the number of cars on the road so it’s more environmentally friendly than driving your own car – there are fewer vehicle emissions and it has a lesser effect on congestion. Where there’s no public transport available and it’s not practical to walk or bike, carpooling is the next best option.
It’s good for companies and employees, the school run and in various community initiatives. A driver can share the expenses and it’s easier to stay alert when there’s someone else in the car.
Benefits of carpooling for companies and employees
- Many companies operate informal carpools because it:
- Reduces the need to have on-site car parks, which saves money and frees up space to do other things
- Increases staff engagement with one another – it improves the social networks within the company and gives more opportunities for making new friends at work
- Can be used to improve the company’s image due to it being an environmental initiative
- Is a benefit to staff members by reducing their travel costs, which helps with staff retention
- Reduces the need for staff members to own a second car.
When does carpooling work best?
Carpooling works best when:
- Staff have set start and finish times – it’s frustrating for carpool members if the driver has to work late, and it could be difficult for other workers to get home if they have to work late and miss their ride
- There is no public transport alternative
- Cycling and walking are not a good option
- Parking is hard to find
- People travel long distances
- There are enough people to support it.