The hardest part of starting a carpool is the unknown of sharing your daily commute with someone else. Most carpools fail before they start. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Drivers: Sharing driving responsibilities is a big perk of carpooling. Driver rotation is a decision that should include your fellow carpoolers. Communicate with your carpool how your schedule will affect your driving arrangements.
  • Accountability for safety: Discuss how you will hold each other accountable for driving safely. This means:
    • Not talking on a cell phone when driving
    • Determining alternative routes in poor weather
    • Avoiding road rage
  • The schedule – Follow a daily schedule that ensures everyone in the carpool knows the times and locations for pick-ups and drop-offs. Expectations should be set on how long you wait for members.
  • Talk about flexibility – Follow set rules for how long the car will wait for members at the pickup locations. Understanding that life happens is important, but also have a conversation about the point it becomes important for everyone to leave a destination, and what the group should do if one person is unable to adhere to the schedule. Cell phones have allowed for better, specific communication, but this relies sharing your phone number with your carpool community.
  • Policies – Discuss and determine carpool policies with your group. It’s a good idea to have policies such as if vehicles are non-smoking and if wearing a seat belt while in the car will be mandatory. Cell phone restrictions are established by your carpool community but normally consists of only making and receiving calls in emergency situations. These policies are recommended for the comfort and safety of all the members. Ensure that when new members are introduced in the carpool that they are informed of the policies. Be respectful by following the rules and also ask everyone in the group to enforce them, not just the driver.
  • Guidelines – Carpool guidelines include eating and drinking restrictions, radio and music use, cellphone use, and agreed stops along the route. Discussing these established guidelines from the start will help ensure everyone is in agreement. You want your carpool community to have the best experience so your carpool remains cohesive and sustainable. Having these conversations and holding these guideline expectations for everyone is important. Once again it is not up to just one person to remind everyone what the carpool community agrees upon.
  • Keep in contact – Efficiency and flexibility is important and can be strengthened by having everyone’s contact information, including cell phone numbers and email addresses. This allows you the opportunity to communicate schedule changes with members, such as planned time off. It also helps in instances of individuals running late, or when a member is sick or has an emergency.

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