Written by Emily Zabanah, Volunteer Writer
Carpooling (also known as ride-sharing) has revolutionized the way we travel, providing convenience, affordability, and flexibility. Whether you’re a regular rider or new to the ride-sharing scene, here are some best practices to ensure a great experience for everyone involved.
1. Establish Clear Guidelines
Establish clear guidelines regarding pick-up and drop-off locations, preferred routes, and departure times. For example, the driver may state that they will wait up to 5 minutes after departure time for late riders before taking off. Keep everyone informed about any changes or delays to ensure a seamless commute for all. Feel free to adjust these guidelines as a group as you see fit.
2. Share Responsibilities
Rotate driving duties, if possible, and consider setting up a contribution system for fuel costs and maintenance expenses. This approach fosters a sense of equity and teamwork within the carpooling group.
3. Create an Inclusive Atmosphere
With multiple people in a shared vehicle, it’s always important to allow others to share their preferences on how their ride experience should be, which can vary day-by-day. For example, someone may want a silent ride, or a scent-free one. Either way, it’s important to try to accommodate the preferences that someone may have.
4. Maintain Good Hygiene and Cleanliness
Be mindful of strong fragrances, and if possible, refrain from consuming food with strong odors during the ride. Keep the vehicle clean by avoiding spills and taking responsibility for any mess you may inadvertently make. Make sure to keep napkins, anti-bacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer in the vehicle to maintain good hygiene.
5. Be Mindful of Personal Belongings
Avoid spreading personal items throughout the vehicle, which can cause inconvenience or clutter. It is also important to be respectful of your fellow rider’s belongings. By being mindful of personal space and belongings, you contribute to a comfortable and stress-free ride.
6. Support Work-Life Balance
Acknowledge the importance of a work-life balance within your ride-share group. Respect each other’s personal commitments and do your best to avoid discussing work-related matters during the car ride, if that is preferred. Create a space where everyone can unwind and enjoy a break from work related discussions, or end their workday.
7. Embrace a Spirit of Flexibility
Recognize that unforeseen circumstances may arise, such as unexpected delays or changes in schedules amongst passengers. A flexible mindset promotes a supportive environment and ensures that everyone feels valued and accommodated. Consider building in extra time into the schedule to allow for unexpected circumstances or delays.
8. Health & Safety
Before your journey, consider sharing travel plans with a friend or family member including the details of the trip, name of the driver, license plate number, and car model. Remember to buckle up, and avoid distractions, such as loud music, while in the car that can put you and your fellow riders at risk. During the drive, if something feels off or you are uncomfortable, politely ask the driver to address the concern.
Maintain a clean environment by regularly disinfecting high touch surfaces such as door handles, seat belts, and window controls to help prevent the spread of germs. Consider setting rules for the journey based on comfort levels for masks and hand hygiene. Additionally, opening windows or using air conditioning can help to improve air circulation.
9. Express Gratitude and Appreciation
Take a moment to express gratitude and appreciation for your fellow riders. A simple “thank you” or a heartfelt note of appreciation can go a long way in fostering a positive and supportive car-sharing community.
10. Find Compatible Riders
Consider signing up for the Smart Commute Tool to find carpool partners, log your commute, participate in fun contests, and much more. This free tool is available on the Apple or Google Play app store, and on web browsers. The Smart Commute tool can help you find like minded individuals in your community and workplace to make carpooling a breeze.
By following these best practices and guidelines, you can enhance your ride-sharing experience and contribute to a positive and enjoyable environment for everyone involved. Treating each other with respect, kindness, and courtesy is the key to a great journey.