Looking for a ride or a rider? Driving yourself to work can get really expensive, and really lonely.
When I talked last week with commuters who are tired of driving alone ("Riding out the hard times"), many were frustrated about their inability to find carpool partners. Surely someone would be glad to ride with Keith Hargraves from south of Garner to the Yonkers Road / WakeMed area in East Raleigh. Or with Debbie Knight, who makes the awful trek from Raleigh to Greensboro.
Here's a longer version, with links, of my tips for ...
FINDING A CARPOOL / VANPOOL MATE
AT WORK AND ON CAMPUS: Post notes on the snack-room bulletin board, the office e-mail list, the in-house Web site. Perhaps you’ll luck out and find a co-worker who lives in your neighborhood.
Maybe your future carpool mate works across the street or two blocks away. How to find him or her?
Ask your human resources honcho for help. How hard can it be for bosses in, say, downtown Durham or the Triangle Town Center area to share the names of employees who just need a little help with the record-high cost of driving to work?
ONLINE: Register at Share the Ride NC, a free statewide ride-sharing matchmaker Web site. Or call 485-7461.
You’ll answer questions about where you live and work, and your commuting schedule. Can you be flexible about travel times? Would you accept a car-pool mate who lives or works a mile away? Five miles away?
As new Triangle commuters sign up — more than 9,000 ride-share candidates in the database now, up from 6,500 a year ago — chances for finding a match are improved.
SCHOOL PARENTS [Updated 8/31/08]: Share the Ride NC is designed primarily for workers, but it works for parents of schoolchildren, too. There are more than 60 Triangle-area schools listed among the destinations of Share the Ride users (note: I can't tell how many of these folks are school employees and how many are school parents).
When you sign up there's a comment section where you can make your needs clear: for example, 'Seeking a morning and afternoon carpool for my child, a fourth-grader at Apex Elementary.'
Other free online sources:
- Craigslist Triangle ride-share page: It gets 6 to 12 new postings a day for carpools and one-time road trips.
- eRideShare.com: A national site that had 276 North Carolina carpool listings last week.
For more car-pool information, go to http://gotriangle.org/Carpool/ or call 485-7433.
What about a vanpool?
Waiting lists are growing this summer for Triangle Transit vanpools — larger and more formal than carpools. Riders sign leases and pay their shares of monthly mileage fees.
Triangle Transit is trying to expand its fleet of 12- and 7-passenger vans, and to retire its 15-passenger vans.
By the numbers
70 - vanpools on the road now, carrying ...
908 Triangle commuters and students each day from as far away as Greensboro and Fayetteville
$81 - monthly fare for each of 11 riders in an average 12-passenger van (the driver rides for free) -- based on average 70-mile daily roundtrip
$155 - monthly fare in average 7-passenger van (the driver pays, too) with a 70-mile daily roundtrip
120 - backlog of additional riders who have signed leases for 10 more vanpools that will start rolling when more vans become available later this year
100 - number of vans David King, Triangle Transit’s general manager, wants to put on the road
Information: http://gotriangle.org/Vanpool/ or 485-7433