How to Start a Carpool That Lasts

So you want to carpool to NC State’s campus and reap the benefits of driving less and saving more cash? Smart move. Whether you’re riding with a friend or you found someone to ride with on Zimride (NC State’s private ride-sharing website) we’ve heard from carpool veterans that carpool success rides on some ground rules. Follow these to start a carpool that will last for the long haul:

Decide who drives and pays.

There are lots of ways to dice driving responsibilities. One person can drive and the passengers can contribute to gas and car maintenance expenses, or you might choose to split driving time so that each person in the carpool shares the expense load. It’s best to decide this early, and you might choose to base it on who has the most comfortable or fuel efficient car. And remember to calculate in parking and any alternative commuter benefits. NC State employees can apply for WolfTrails commuter benefits and students can apply for a carpool permit.

Agree on the route and stick to it.

What flies with family may not fly with your carpool. Whereas family members might be more willing to make extra stops along your route to or from campus, there’s no better way to alienate your carpool buddy than by asking to stop by the post office, grocery store or other locale. Even if it’s supposed to be “quick.”

Be on time.

If you’re running behind schedule, you’ll make your entire carpool late. Being punctual is paramount.

Clean your car.

Taking a guess here, but we suspect that your carpool buddy doesn’t want to arrive at work or class covered in your Golden Retriever’s hair. Take a few minutes to clean your car so your passenger has a comfortable seat and isn’t wrestling with trash at their feet.

Brush up on carpool etiquette.

Some people find it annoying or distracting to be in the car when someone is talking on the phone, listening to loud music, smoking, eating, drinking, gossiping or even wearing strong perfume/cologne. It’s better to establish your preferences at the start of your carpool instead of being annoyed every time you see your carpool buddy.

Research the emergency ride home.

Life happens, and you or your carpool driver might need to leave early. In the Triangle area, a free emergency ride home service is offered for just such occasions, so don’t let the possibility of the unexpected deter you from carpooling.

We hope you’ll give carpooling a try, and that these tips help your carpool last!

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