It’s official, I am a carpooler.

I’ve never been super keen on the idea of carpooling.  I tend to live close to my worksites, and like to be able to set my own schedule.  All too often I cannot get out of the house early, my hunt through my closet for an outfit usually takes a very long time.  About two months ago one of my co-workers moved about 2 blocks away from me.  We were both paying $60 a month to park at work, plus gas and parking at home (free for me, $30 a month for her).  For us it just made sense to start carpooling.

We don’t have the exact same work schedules, she prefers to start earlier in the morning, and I would rather sleep a little later and work late.  She sometimes takes an hour long lunch, I only take 30 minutes.  With a little compromise we came to a good mix: we start early, no working past 4:30 and only 30 minute lunches.

I read a website that had tips for carpooling successfully. There were a couple of tips that I hadn’t even thought of, any many of the tips turned out to be a non-issue.  I think the more people in the carpool, the more potential for difficulties.  I have seen carpoolers turn into enemies, it was pretty ugly.  Eventually one of the workers even changed offices- there was that much animosity. I have to admit I was a little hesitant to agree to carpooling, I like my carpooling buddy, I didn’t want to sour the relationship.  However, I now see that one of the carpoolers was breaking all of the good carpooling behaviour rules. (Smoking before getting into the car, talking everyone’s ear off, gossiping, not sticking to the schedule, and crappy driving too).

Aside from setting a schedule, we also decided to alternate driving weeks and in general do not make stops to run errands unless it’s something both of us need to do.  (Although there are some emergency coffee stops.)  I warned her I am not a morning person and might not talk a lot (I was wrong).  She told me she hates my music, we have made a compromise on the music.  Although in my defence, super loud techno is a super fantastic way to start the day.  We have several different possible routes, but due to traffic, construction and bike lanes, it took us a while to figure out what was best.  We have finally figured it out just this week.  It was a total accident, but the 25 minute commute is now a 15 minute commute.

Aside from the obvious upsides of carpooling:

  • spending less on parking
  • spending less on gas
  • reducing our carbon footprint

There are a few unexpected upsides:

  • we have both found we spend less because we aren’t making stops on the way home
  • it’s nice to be driven around
  • we both catch-up on our emails, etc when it’s not our driving week
  • I actually can get out of the house exactly on time when I know someone will be waiting on me