Downshift Your Carbon Footprint: Sign Up for Local Rideshare

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You’ve probably heard of Uber and Lyft, the popular rideshare services that allow you to request a ride from a driver using your smartphone. What you may not know is that there are now local versions of these services where you don’t have to pay for ridesharing.

Here’s how you can save a truckload of money and reduce carbon pollution: local ridesharing.

What is ridesharing?

Ridesharing is exactly like carpooling. People headed in a similar direction share a ride, either by taking turns or having a set driver. Some local programs also offer new larger vehicles like vans once matched riders hit a certain number.

These resources are free and often funded by the federal government to encourage lower polluting forms of transit to meet climate and community health goals.

How to rideshare?

  1. If you are in a city, often your local bus system will offer a carpool or rideshare match service. Check on their site or call in to get more information on how to sign up directly through local providers.
  2. Your employer can also assist in finding and encouraging carpooling. First, by hosting sign-ups of interested people and matching them geographically. Further, they can offer incentives such as annual car detailing for signing up and sharing rides for a certain number of days in a year. Or offering an extra paid vacation day once people share a ride a certain number of times.
  3. Put a call out to friends and family. You’d be surprised at how your existing network might know people that work near you that are good ride-sharing buddies.

Carpooling Tips

  1. Start with an experimenter’s mindset. Don’t make long-term commitments at first. Aim to try carpooling a few times. First, it makes it easier to start because it’s not a huge commitment. It also offers you and the others sharing a ride an opportunity to evaluate if it’s a good fit.
  2. Figure out basic logistics. What time, who’s driving, how to split fuel costs, and where to meet.
  3. Share Preferences. Strong opinions on food in the car, music or news program, or prefer silence? There may be different preferences, try to find common ground to make it as enjoyable as possible.

More resources on carpooling

Columbia has a longer list of ways to make carpooling easier and more enjoyable.Looking to organize family and friends carpooling? Check out the Carpool-Kids app!

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