Do you drive to work? Have you ever considered the positive impacts of sharing the ride?
The majority of health-care staff commutes are by single occupancy vehicle (staff driving by themselves). Commuting by single occupancy vehicles can have negative impacts on personal health, public health, as well as the environment, through the production of emissions, contribution to air pollution, traffic congestion, its sedentary nature, and financial cost. However, depending on where you live and work, as well as what your mobility and other life and family requirements may be, driving may be the only feasible commuting option for you.
If driving is your only option, have you considered what options you have to reduce the negative impacts? One of the most impactful ways to significantly reduce the impacts of driving is to share the ride by carpooling!
Benefits of carpooling/ridesharing
- Save money! (On gas, parking, vehicle wear-and-tear, potential insurance rate reduction)
- Get to work faster (by getting to use the HOV lane)
- Reduce emissions
- Reduce traffic congestion and air pollution
- Reduce stress (from driving alone, sitting in traffic)
- Helping out a coworker or friend
Creating your own Carpool
Carpooling can be as formal or informal as you would like. Whether it’s calling a friend up the night before to see if they need a ride, or setting a daily carpool schedule with your coworkers, any shifts to decrease the number of vehicles hitting the road everyday has a significant impact!
If you regularly drive to work, put out the word to your neighbours and coworkers when you have space and capacity to share the ride with others. It is up to the driver to decide if they would expect the riders to contribute an amount of gas and other costs.
(These steps are adapted from Create a Carpool in 4 Easy Steps, Readers Digest)
- Pick your pool type
- Sole Driver: This carpool generally has one driver and one or more passengers. The driver provides the vehicle and depending on how compensation is organized, passengers sometimes pay a daily, weekly or monthly fare based on expenses such as fuel, maintenance and parking.
- Alternating Drive: Enjoy the simplicity of a carpool in which driving is alternated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Costs are incurred only during the period in which you are required to drive (i.e. because you are paying the gas). Or, put simply — when you drive you pay, when you ride it’s free.
- Find your members
Let your friends, neighbours, and co-workers know you are starting a carpool. You may be able to fill your car up quicker than you think. You can also put up a notice in the staff room, or reach out through any local neighbourhood or community groups.
- Set the rules
Once you have your members, set some guidelines:
- Where will the pick-up and drop off locations be?
- Is payment done weekly or monthly? (if at all)
- How will cancellations/sickness be handled?
- Who picks the music?
- How long will you wait for latecomers?
- Arrange the schedule
Once you’ve got people interested, and have agreed on how to run the carpool, it’s time to create a schedule. Try to arrange things at least week ahead of time so you can stay organized. The most effective carpool is one that has a consistent schedule that requires minimal coordination once it is established.
- Arrange for a Plan B
Should the carpool driver be sick, or the vehicle in need of repair, is there an alternative driver available? Make a plan to ensure that everyone has a way to get to their destination (and back, if that is a part of the plan), in the event that the driver is unable to drive.
Carpooling for Vancouver Coastal Health Employees
VCH staff have access to a carsharing program: Go Orca. Based on whether you wish to drive or ride, as well as which days and times you would like to carpool, Go Orca will match you with other VCH staff who also wish to, or are already carpooling.
If you are a VCH employee and would like to know more, visit the GoOrca webpage.