Carpooling reduces the number of cars on the road. This can decrease congestion and shorten your journey time. By travelling in groups rather than alone, carpooling cuts the number of single occupancy vehicles on our roads and thus carpooling can reduce pollution and CO2 emissions associated with vehicle use. This can result in cleaner air, a cleaner environment and less of the negative impacts associated with climate change.
You might like to consider setting up your own customised carpooling initiative. Northern Trust in Limerick do just that and they were the winners of the Smarter Travel Carsharing Award in 2017. You can read how they approach their carpooling initiative.
Tips for Launching your Carpooling Scheme
Guaranteed Ride Home
A Guaranteed Ride Home scheme (GRH) is an incentive for employees to carpool. It provides assurance to employees that they can get home and not be left at work if a situation arises. The organisation guarantees a free taxi ride home for participants of the scheme who have an emergency arise on a day that they carpool.
- Speak with senior management about the introduction of carpooling to get support.
- Highlight benefits such as reducing pressure on parking spaces, reducing congestion, freeing up land under parking for more productive purposes and assisting employees to share the burden of driving.
- Agree on a dedicated carpool coordinator – this is a member of staff who will take the lead on promotion and monitor uptake of the scheme.
- Develop your organisation’s carpooling policy e.g. are permits required, enforcement of permits.
- Speak with Facilities about allocating parking for carpoolers. This should be in priority areas e.g. close to entrances, so it is both the desirable parking and visible to other drivers / visitors.
- Speak with security about your carpooling scheme and monitoring carpooling parking.
- Speak with Facilities about staff access cards – does anything need to be done with them to monitor/give access etc.?
- Brand your scheme, e.g. use icons or a slogan – “Seats spare, car share”, “Start the day with a pick-me-up” etc.
- Design permits for car windscreen.
- Put your carpooling policy, carpooling etiquette FAQs and other information on an easily accessible page on your organisation’s intranet.
- Update staff on the introduction of carpooling and the reasons why it is being introduced (as well as the benefits to staff!) e.g. reducing pressure on parking, promoting ease of access, reducing fuel costs for motorists, being more eco-friendly, sharing the burden of driving. This update can be online, by email, in a newsletter or however your organisation usually communicates to employees. Let people know when the scheme is commencing and who to contact with questions. Include a link to more information on your intranet site.
- Send an all-staff email or update on intranet / notice boards about the launch day (both in advance and on the morning of the launch). Include benefits of carpooling, location of carpooling bays and a contact name for the scheme and for questions arising in first month.
- Have incentives to attract people to the promotional area on the day e.g. t-shirts, a draw for everyone registering in the first month. Windscreen wipers, ice scrapers or car-washes are good low-cost incentives.
- Organise t-shirts for staff promoting the scheme.
- Organise a photo shoot with members of senior management arriving to work by car-pool or signing up for the site.
- Use photos from your senior management photo shoot in a follow up communication to staff about the launch.
- Hold a prize draw for all people registering by the end of the first month. Publicise the winner and ask for a short message to quote on intranet / newsletters.
- Hold regular incentives for carpoolers – e.g. draw for car service, reusable shopping bags and so on. Consider offering incentives such as a raffle for a half day off if other prizes can’t be resourced.
- Peer profile – ‘I car pool and save money and time’ – showcase this on your intranet/newsletters.
- Include information in your organisation’s induction pack.
- Include ongoing updates on intranet / newsletters on carpooling numbers as the scheme grows.
- Hold a carpool coffee morning for interested people and those already driving, when resources permit.
- Invite feedback from carpoolers on how to improve the scheme.
- Add new carpooling spaces in prime locations as numbers registering for the site increase or as demand is reported.
- Security to regularly monitor carpooling bays to ensure carpoolers only are using them.
- Impose sanctions for people parking in carpooling bays.
- As carpooling numbers increase, release car parking spaces or re-designate spaces, e.g. for bicycle parking.
The carpooling services below offer administrative access and reporting information however there may be associated costs:
- FAXI Groups are set up around single employers – not open to the general public. FAXI offers closed company groups with member access controlled by the group administrator.
- Liftshare is one of the UK’s largest carpooling providers with App and online offerings. They are not currently operating in Ireland, but are planning on entering the market.
Safety Tips when Carpooling
When it comes to sharing journeys, everyone is responsible for their own personal safety. However, we do recommend that you read some simple safety measures outlined below:
- Arrange to meet for the first time in a public place.
- Don’t exchange home addresses with your travelling companion before you meet them.
- Inform a friend or family member of who you will be travelling with, when and to where.
- Show each other ID e.g. passports, student cards or driving licences, so you know you’re travelling with the right person.
- Trust your instincts; you are under no obligation to go ahead with any carpool arrangement. If you have any doubts about your travelling companion, for any reason, then you don’t have to travel with them.
- Check that the person you are sharing with has all the legal driving documents, such as driving license, car insurance, NCT and car tax.
Social Tips – Ground Rules
Carpooling may not work out for you and it’s okay to say that to your travelling companion, you don’t have to commit to carpool forever. Agree that each of you can stop at any stage and it’s not a personal thing.
- Good etiquette is required of all participants including polite and friendly behaviour, and punctuality to agreed appointments.
- All participants agree to inform their fellow participants as far in advance as possible of any cancellation of a lift, inability to provide or to attend for a lift, or any other interruption to the arrangements agreed between the participants.
- Set the ground rules of the arrangement at the start.
- As a driver, how long you will wait for passengers (5 minutes?)
- Text each other 30 minutes beforehand to remind and confirm.
- Is eating allowed in the car?
- Is the radio the driver’s prerogative, or will you swap stations?
- How are fuel costs recorded and what day will you pay?
- Agree you’ll talk to each other honestly if there are any issues.
The most effective way to encourage uptake of carpooling is to allocate carpoolers’ parking.
The National Transport Authority or their agents or assigns, cannot accept any liability whatsoever or howsoever arising, whether relating to persons or property, as a result of the operation of a carpooling scheme or its use by participants.