With October earmarked as Transport Month, a local initiative is underway to get South Africans to carpool. Carpool Week, which runs from the 3 – 9 October, is an initiative to raise awareness of all the benefits of carpooling and it encourages people to rethink their traveling choices for a better country.
Commuters that live near each other and share a common destination form the simplest and most common “carpool” arrangement. Carpooling is an ideal cost saving arrangement, particularly for those individuals who commute long distances to and from work each day, have limited access to public transit and few transportation options available to them.
Danial Claasen, founder of an innovative service called Find-a-Lift, explained that the aim behind the service is to find people a lift from point A to point B.
Some employers encourage employees to share the ride to and from work by allowing the use of company vehicles. Employees pay a fare to offset additional petrol, maintenance and insurance costs. As most company vehicles sit idle in parking lots after business hour, this system can benefit both employers and employees. Employers can save their parking for paying customers while demonstrating their environmental responsibility and employees can save money.
Carpooling is not only flexible and economical but also helps reduce air pollution, traffic congestion and consumption of non-renewable energy resources.
“Carpooling in Cape Town is a bit of a struggle because a lot of people have trust issues. There are also those who prefer driving their own vehicles and just enjoying their space. People are very reluctant to change,” says Claasen.
He encourages people to try carpooling even if it is for a day. This will decrease congestion because if people start joining lift clubs, there will be a decrease in cars on the road and can also decrease the accident rate.
This year’s Carpooling theme is “going Green” and is linked with trees.
So what does and carpooling and trees have in common?
Carpooling 3500km will save as much CO2 as the average tree absorbs in its lifetime.
Benefits of carpooling/ ridesharing
- You can save around R100 by sharing 200km with 1 person.
- Share 3500km and you would have ‘planted’ a TREE.
- Make new friends, know the gossip.
- You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic. Carpool to reduce traffic
- Reduce the stress of driving by alternating
Tips for carpooling
- Offer or Find a Lift on http://www.findalift.co.za
- Establish a route and schedule and be punctual
- Establish a cost sharing arrangement and establish some basic rules
- Draw up a schedule for driving responsibilities
- Respect everyone in your carpool, keep in mind we are all very different individuals. Respect each other’s’ preferences
- Set up a line of communication and avoid side trips on the way home
- Drive carefully and keep the car clean, in good repair and filled with enough fuel for each trip
- Have fun and share your experiences with friends and colleagues to encourage them to try it out
Staying safe when carpooling
- Do not exchange home addresses before you meet a potential travel partner
- Meet in a public place the first time you meet your potential travel partner
- Connect on social media like Facebook to build trust
- Show each other proof of your identity to ensure you are meeting the correct person
- Tell friend/family about your travel partner and details of your journey
- Do not travel together if you have any doubts about your potential travel partner