GO MAINE.org: Commuter Connections

7 tips to launching a successful carpool

Establishing a carpool is easy when your carpool group follows these simple rules of etiquette:

#1: GETTING TO KNOW YOU. Before you do anything else, call or meet your carpool partners and agree on the basics: How many days you plan to carpool per week, where you’ll meet before and after work, what time you’ll meet, who will drive and on which days, how long you’ll wait for other carpoolers, how you’ll pitch in for gas, tolls and other expenses, and what about caffeine, fuel and bathroom stops?

#2: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JOINED AT THE HIP. Just because you want to carpool doesn’t mean you have to do it everyday. Some of the most successful carpools we know share the ride only one or two days a week. That gives everyone involved a couple of days to themselves to run errands

#3: SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE. Decide how to split the costs. Some carpools divide everything – driving and expenses – evenly. That may not always be possible. Make sure it’s a good deal for everyone involved. GO MAINE estimates the average cost of driving to work is about 54 cents per mile of gas, oil and routine maintenance cost. Base reimbursement on this simple formula: Take 54 cents per mile, factor in tolls, parking and other expenses – then split the cost among everyone in the carpool.

#4: PLAN AHEAD. Good planning is the key to a good carpool. Think ahead to events that could influence the lives of your fellow carpoolers. Consider scheduling ahead for vacations, business trips – or the day you have to leave work early to see your 4th grader’s school play. It’s only good manners to give your partners the information and time to make other plans.

#5: WATCH THE UPHOLSTERY. It may sound trivial, but it’s best to set a policy on eating, drinking and smoking in the car. It’s even good to agree upon a radio station. That gives everyone one less thing to worry about when your carpool hits the road.

#6: FLEXIBILITY IS A CARPOOL VIRTUE. No matter how well you plan, sickness, family emergencies and work can throw off your carpool schedule. Be flexible. Have fellow carpoolers’ phone numbers handy, and be sure to have a contingency plan. And rest assured – GO MAINE Emergency Ride Home Benefit might get you home if your carpool partner has an emergency during the work day.

#7: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Like Aretha Franklin says, respect is essential – including for your carpool. Treat fellow carpoolers with courtesy, and everyone’s bound to enjoy the ride home.IMG_4242

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