Should I Carpool to Work? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself
Posted on by Isabelle Brown
Sharing the ride to work is an effective way to save money, time, and stress while lowering your carbon footprint. How do you know if joining a carpool is right for your commute?
Here are the 4 biggest questions you should be asking yourself:
- Do I live near any of my coworkers?
- Does my commute stress me out?
- Would I benefit from a more economical commute mode?
- Do I have other options accessible to me?
Do I Live Near Any of My Coworkers?
The first and most important step to deciding if a carpool is right for your commute is figuring out who you could ride with. This process is called ride matching.
Going substantially out of your way to pick someone up is not considered an efficient match. However, if you live in the same town, or if a coworker is somewhat on your way to work, you’ve got a good match to consider carpooling with. A good starting place is to chat with some of your coworkers about starting a carpool. You might inspire others to give it a try and share the ride!
Does My Commute Stress Me Out?
Chances are—Yes. Most people have a commute that is less than pleasant when you consider time spent in the car, traffic during rush hour times, the price of gas, the anxiety of running late in the morning, and having to share the road with aggressive drivers. Not to mention, you’re doing it all alone.
If your commute is causing you stress on a daily basis, it’s adding to the mental load that you carry as a part of your job. It’s no surprise that carpooling increases employee satisfaction. Having a group or even one other person commuting with you can lift that burden significantly. Taking turns driving, splitting gas costs, getting to use carpool lanes, and having someone to keep you accountable and on time can truly lighten the load.
Would I Benefit from a More Economical Commute Mode?
If you find that you’re spending too much on gas, maintenance, or repairs on your vehicle, carpooling could ease the financial burdens that come with commuting alone every day. Regularly carpooling could even open the door for lower insurance rates.
Taking turns driving in your carpool group makes a big difference in how much you have to rely on your car. Going from using your car 5 days a week to 2 or 3 reduces the miles you’re driving more than you may think! If someone in the carpool drives a hybrid or electric vehicle—Even better! Hybrid cars are 20-35% more fuel efficient than conventional cars, making them more impactful on lowering your carbon footprint, too.
Do I Have Other Options Accessible to Me?
While carpooling is a great method to save money and share the ride, it isn’t the only way.
To begin, think about taking public transportation. In our blog post for Dump the Pump Day, we outline the step-by-step process of figuring out if transit is an accessible commute option for you. Taking the bus or train is extremely impactful in reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road, and it eliminates the need to use your car at all!
Another great commute option is biking to work, though this isn’t accessible to everyone around the US. We have a long way to go with providing people with safe, protected, and widespread bike lanes to make it a realistic option for commuters. But, if you are one of the lucky ones who has a safe commute to bike along, we highly recommend it! Riding your bike does wonders for your mental and physical health as well as the environment.
When you’re considering an alternate form of commuting, it’s absolutely okay to start with small steps. Sharing the ride one day a week is an excellent place to start, and a great way to give it a try. Just remember that driving alone is not the only way to commute. You deserve a daily commute that works for you! Happy carpooling!