Tips for Successful Carpooling

Mandatory Carpooling Rules

Establishing Trust with Strangers

This section may not apply if you have a strong basis for trust to begin with.

  • Remember not everyone can be trusted. Listen to your feelings. There is no obligation to continue if you are ever uncomfortable with the person or situation
  • Get your carpool partner's identity and contact information. Look them up in a phone book and on social media if appropriate
  • Meet in a public place before beginning
  • Get driver information including License #, Plate #, and Insurance information. Ask permission to share this with a trusted friend
  • Ensure the car picking you up matches the plate and insurance information provided
  • Exchange and check personal references
  • If you are not comfy providing your home or work address, meet in a neutral spot
  • Do not carry valuables or significant amounts of cash

Locations and Times

  • Confirm exact pickup and drop-off times and locations with each passenger
  • Confirm route and stop-offs
  • Confirm which days each person is included
  • How will you handle occasional lateness? Usually carpools allow for 2-3 minutes maximum
  • How will you handle chronic lateness? Usually passengers will be removed from a carpool for frequent lateness
  • Consider utilizing a carpool lot: Ontario Carpool Lots

In-Car Preferences

Discuss preferences for behaviour in the car, and remember driver has final say

  • Cell phone use
  • Fragrances and allergies
  • Eating and drinking
  • Luggage needs and space
  • Smoking during and before the ride
  • Conversation: Silence or Polite conversation only? Usually topics such as religion and politics are avoided
  • Music: how often, what style, and how loud
  • Unscheduled stops and special requests
  • Temperature, Air-conditioning, windows closed or open
  • Seating arrangements. Taller passengers usually do better in the front

Communication, Roles, Backup Plans

  • Exchange cell numbers and email addresses for easy communication (For larger carpools or vanpools and in cases where not everyone has texting or checks email often, you may want to establish a phone tree)
  • How much notice is needed in case of plan changes?
  • Is confirmation required the day before every time, or is it assumed everyone is participating?
  • How will you handle last minute issues such as driver illness, car trouble, or lateness?
  • Make sure to notify everyone well in advance of vacations and changes in work schedules
  • Exchange emergency contact information with your other carpoolers
  • Share details of the carpool with someone you trust, including routes, times, and contact information (with permission of course)

Cost Sharing Arrangement

  • Confirm agreement on the cost sharing arrangement. Is only gas cost shared, or gas and maintenance?
  • Click here to see how to calculate your commute cost
  • How often and when will the driver be reimbursed?
  • As a courtesy to the driver, for a larger carpool it can be helpful to have one passenger organize collecting the payment from the group.

For Drivers

  • Check your insurance policy to confirm it will be sufficient to handle extra passengers in your car
  • Drive safely. No speeding or aggressive driving, and certainly no driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Keep the vehicle tidy and in good maintenance at all times
  • No cell phone use while driving

For Passengers

  • Respect the vehicle at all times, ensure you are dry and clean and wipe your feet if needed before entering
  • For front seat passengers, ensure your seat placement is respectful to the passenger behind you
  • Avoid backseat driving
  • Ensure you do not leave anything behind

Strategies for Long Term Success

  • Consider a trial period before committing
  • Give it a bit of time to establish a workable routine
  • Discuss any concerns you have in advance
  • Raise concerns as they come up