Carpooling can either be a saving grace for working moms or a huge stress. Finding the right people to carpool with is like finding good child care. If you can't trust them that it's not going to work out. And if the kids you drive around are not respectful and pick up after themselves your kids are going to want out, too.
What is carpooling? Carpooling happens when two or more people, typically from different households, share a car ride together.
You can carpool together to save money on fuel, tolls, and parking, to protect the environment and to help get your kids somewhere when you can't drive them.
Everyone in the family can participate in a carpool and receive different types of benefits. Here is what you need to know about carpools and how to make it work for you and your family.
Use a Carpool to Get to Work
Once the kids are off to school it's time to join your carpool. Imagine how much fun it'd be to catch up with friends on the way to work! Or you and co-workers could get a head start on work while sitting in traffic. Carpooling can turn out to be an efficient use of your time.
When the carpool will happen depends on everyone work schedules and making compromises (if necessary). Your carpool could be done on a regular basis like every workday or every Monday or it could be flexible, to cater to people flexible work schedules.
Aim to set expectations early in the carpool agreement like how often you will drive and how much notice needs to be given if one of you needs to back out.
Have everyone in the carpool use this app, instead of email or texting, to keep communication organized and in one spot. Another app you could use is The Car Pool Party app if your gang has a hard time remembering whose turn it is to drive. The app can even pick who should drive next! If find yourself without a ride to work because someone cancels on you try the HitchARide app. It is a social ride-sharing app where you can watch their social feed to hitch a ride to work.
Find a Carpool If You Have a Long Business Trip by Car
A carpool could be arranged for long or unusual car trips. Many large cities offer carpool pickup locations where drivers can pick up a stranger to drive in or out of the urban area. Usually, these correlate with carpool lanes on the highways that let cars with a specific number of people -- often set at two or three or more -- to give drivers an incentive to pick up passengers.
The UberPOOL app is meant to manage a carpool for long-distances, where there's a flat-fee and a discount if more than one person hitches a ride. Another option is to use ZimRide which is hosted by the car-renting business Enterprise. Corporations and universities host a private social network for their employees and students to use to setup carpools.
Setup a Carpool to Transport Your Kids
It can be a scheduling challenge to get your kids home from after-school activities. Especially when you're stuck at work. A carpool can be the solution instead of having to leave work early to get the kids. Be sure to check that everyone's insurance policies will cover driving children around who are not their own.
In addition to the apps you could use for a work carpool there are a few family-friendly apps you could try to manage your kid's carpools. The Cozi app's is a family organizer and with it's gold membership you can share a calendar with other families in the carpool to keep track of whose turn it is. The Carpool School Edition app gives you a months glance of your carpooling schedule and allows you to manage your school's carpooling schedule.
Carpooling can make life easier and help you and your family strengthen your relationship within your community. With so many apps out there to make carpooling easier to manage it's worth giving it a shot!
Updated by Elizabeth McGrory