How to Carpool

There are several considerations that potential carpoolers must take into account. Since money is always number one, participants must decide how the daily drive will be financed. In the most common type of carpool, drivers will take turns driving, sharing the costs approximately equally. If the group contains non-drivers or people who prefer not to drive, the party may agree that those people will pay the driver(s) a certain amount rather than taking turns driving. This amount may include not only gas, as there are many types of auto expenses. One standard to use is the mileage reimbursement for State employee travel, which, at .565 cents/mile (as of August 2013), is intended to cover gasoline and all long-term vehicle expenses. This amount could  be split amongst the driver and passengers participating.

Participants also must review etiquette and procedure. Just as you need to learn how to ride a bus or taxi, you’ll want to find out how not to drive your companions crazy. Some important considerations:Pop Can

 > Whether and for how long the car will wait for late passengers

 > What, if anything, will be played on the stereo

 > Eating or drinking in the car

For these and other tips, see http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/stories/how-to-start-a-carpool

Finally, any individual taking part in a carpool must think of what he or she will do if the carpool is unable to fulfill one leg of the ride. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has a support program through its local rideshare offices, called the “Guaranteed Ride Home” program which provides reimbursement for return trips by taxi or rental car in the event of an unexpected lack of return ride. Unfortunately this program is not currently available in the Western Region. Therefore, carpoolers should make their own back-up plans.

Even though the region is not covered by the Michigan Rideshare program, numerous state-owned park-and-ride sites are available, with a map and information table accessible at the links just given or in this page’s submenu above. In addition, MDOT sponsors MichiVan Commuter Vanpools, which offers group rentals of multiple passenger vans on which each rider pays for a seat but the volunteer driver travels free. This service is currently not operational in the region.