If you’re thinking about establishing a new carpool or want to make sure your existing carpool runs as smoothly as possible, check out these tips:
- If you are meeting with a potential carpool partner(s) for the first time, make sure you are comfortable before you establish a carpooling plan. Consider talking on the phone first to discuss interest and schedules, then meet in a public place to finalize your plan. If either person prefers to keep looking for a better carpooling fit, that is okay.
- Before your first carpool, meet as a group to exchange information and establish expectations. A few items to discuss are:
- Who will drive and will driving be shared?
- How will you communicate with each other (email, call, and/or text)?
- Is there a park and ride lot or other convenient, safe location that’s best to meet?
- How much compensation is expected for gas and vehicle wear and tear, and when? Note: It is best to establish a clear rate such as per day or per mile so that carpool members can plan and budget accordingly.
- What are the expectations regarding radio, food, smoking, and passenger phone use while in the car?
- Are there limits to how much “stuff” people can bring with them in the vehicle?
- How long will the carpool wait for a passenger if they are running late? Note: Five minutes is recommended.
- How will your group build in flexibility to accommodate changes in schedule?
- Establish back-up plans in the event the driver is not available.
- Make sure everyone is signed up for RoundTrip’s Emergency Ride Home program, which can be used if you or your carpool driver has an emergency and must leave work unexpectedly.
- Give the carpool a chance to work effectively. If issues arise, communicate clearly and discuss what the group can do to make things work better.
- Communication is key to successful carpools. Determine ahead of time how your group will communicate, then email, text, or call each other as needed.
- Give notice of vacation or sickness as far in advance as possible.
- Drive in a calm, safe, and courteous manner.
- Be prompt. Drivers and passengers should not need to wait more than five minutes for each other.
- Avoid controversial discussions and strong scents, such as personal fragrance and air fresheners.
- Keep the vehicle interior clean.
Staying Safe during COVID-19
Follow the CDC guidelines below to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19. General best practices when sharing any type of transportation with people who do not live in your household include wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times; maintaining physical distancing; and practicing good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.