Trying to guess what the cost of gasoline is going to be from one week to the next is kind of like picking winning lottery numbers.
Yet we have to drive to campus, go to work, or both every week. As more of your hard earned money goes into your gas tank, now may be the perfect time to think about sharing a ride to and from campus every week. Sharing a ride with someone is also a great way to help make our planet just a little more green.
In recent years, OCCS has surveyed commuter students to determine, among other things, how far they travel to and from campus. Did you know that 21% indicated they live 11 to 20 miles from campus and 35% noted that they live more than 21 miles from campus? That is a lot of driving every week.
While it may not be possible to carpool everyday, even doing so once a week could save you some real money over the course of the month. How much could you be saving every week if you carpooled, one, two, three, or more days a week?
Take a moment and calculate how much it costs to drive your car to and from campus every week. You may be surprised to learn how much you spend on gas every month.
To learn more about carpooling and commuting in New Jersey, check out NJ Commuter.com.
Decide how you will split the costs before you start carpooling. The big one is usually fuel, which you can determine based on the mileage of the vehicle and actual trip distance shared. Toll costs are also good to split. If you do not drive at all, consider maintenance, parking costs and increase in insurance premium that the driver may have to bear as well. Licensing and depreciation are other costs usually not significant enough—but get these clarified before you start carpooling.
Decide on issues such as smoking, eating, loud music, radio station, talking in the car—all these are details which, if sorted out well beforehand, make your carpooling enjoyable.
This is is very important. Decide on a waiting time and how many calls you are going to make. Five minutes and two calls are usually a good starting point. Share your cell phone numbers since weather conditions, traffic conditions, and car troubles are all factors which could affect driving times.
Have a backup plan in case the driver falls sick, goes on vacation, or the car breaks down. We recommend having at least two drivers in your carpool. Public transportation can also make a good backup plan.
A simple strategy like big and tall in the front can make the ride convenient for all. If you are driving, tidy up your car. Don’t pick up errands on your way without consulting others—it is usually best to carpool straight to and from the destination.
Drivers, consider increasing the appropriate coverage like liability and underinsured motorist. Please verify with your insurance company about any other considerations for your carpool.