Carpooling is a great way to get around, as long as you can do it in a manner that is safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Carpooling allows you to reduce your environmental footprint while still getting exactly where you need to be in a time-efficient manner! This combination of characteristics can be difficult to find with other methods of transportation.
The trouble with transportation
There are many different ways to get from place to place. Some people may drive private vehicles, take public transportation, ride a bicycle, or walk in order to get where they need to be. While choosing public transportation, walking, or cycling can be a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact by reducing your carbon emissions, there are bound to be times when it does not suit your needs. You may find that these methods of transportation can be somewhat unreliable when you need to travel to a destination that is out of the way, stick to a rigid timeline, or travel with another person. Public transportation, biking, or walking can also be less than ideal when you are donning formal attire on your way to an event, as there is a good chance you might look disheveled by the time you reach your destination!
On the other hand, there are many issues associated with driving a personal vehicle. For one, owning and driving a vehicle has negative effects on the environment. The convenience of having a vehicle at your disposal may give you incentive to use it more than necessary, increasing your carbon footprint. Another drawback of driving a personal vehicle is the costs that you incur. Private vehicles require an upfront cost of purchasing, regular gas payments, possible maintenance costs, and insurance.
Benefits of carpooling
Carpooling combines the independence of a private vehicle with the environmental and financial benefits of public transportation! Sharing a vehicle with other people means that you are reducing the amount of fossil fuel required to transport each individual within the vehicle and reducing the number of vehicles on the road!
One of the issues with carpooling can be finding a person or group of people who have the same transportation needs as you. This can be solved by using a carpooling app which is designed to connect drivers and passengers in order to reduce reliance on single-passenger vehicles. As a benefit, having a regular carpool can reduce your contact with others in public transportation which can help to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, as long as appropriate precautions are taken when travelling together. See your local health advisories for updated information.
Ride-hailing is NOT Carpooling
On the surface it can look like the popular ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft also have environmental benefits, like carpooling, but in fact they are very different, and actually increase traffic on our roads! These ride-hailing services respond like Taxis do to take you to your destination, but the main difference is that you are not reducing your carbon footprint at all, and it is often even greater than if you were to drive your own vehicle. With ride-hail services, the vast majority of trips involve a driver coming to you, taking you to your destination, and then heading out to another service request.
In fact, ride-hailing services increase traffic as many who use the service choose to do so rather than walk, bike or use public transit, and the nature of the service means that more distance is driven per trip compared to using your own vehicle.
Ride-sharing IS another term for carpooling
On the other hand, ride-sharing generally refers to a carpooling scenario, where the driver is going on this trip anyways, and chooses to take additional passengers to reduce the environmental footprint of the trip and to share the costs of the commute.
GoCarma was the first ride-sharing smartphone app to be released in 2008. This app lets drivers record their preferred routes and store them in the system, allowing interested passengers to come along for the ride! Drivers earn 17 cents a mile and passengers pay 20 cents a mile. All payments are managed through the app. GoCarma has been established in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Houston, and New York.
Hitch is another carpooling app which is designed specifically for longer distance routes. This app makes traveling from city-to-city safe, fast, and easy. Instead of taking an expensive bus, train, or plane, Hitch allows drivers and passengers to carpool together in a comfortable and affordable manner. Simply download the app, type in your location and destination, and match with someone who is also going your way!
Next time you have somewhere to be, consider using a carpool app to find passengers or drivers that are headed to the same or similar destinations, but don’t be fooled by the ride-hailing services that actually increase the carbon footprint of your trip!
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