Carpooling Rules


If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a city with mass transit, you can still save gas, the environment, not to mention your personal energy and time by carpooling with your coworkers. The key to keeping every one happy is to create some basic ground rules. While the specifics will vary from car to car and group to group, some basics to get you started can be found in this MSN Career Article.

Ride sharing can be a good opportunity to interact with coworkers from other departments that you wouldn’t normally have a chance to see regularly. If you use this time wisely, it may even help advance your career. As the MSN article suggests, if appropriate, this can be a good place to review speeches, get an other perspective on a proposal and test presentations and speeches.

The top 10 list from the article:
1. Be on time
Even early. Always. Call if you aren’t going to make it so your coworkers aren’t waiting around for you when you are home with the flu.

2. Avoid eating or drinking in the vehicle.
Even if the driver says it is ok, this is not the time to test your new spill proof thermos. You don’t want to be the person who spills clam chowder in your coworker’s brand new car.

3. Discuss and agree on pickup points as well as main and alternate routes beforehand.
Some cities have commuter parking lots. Others don’t. Have plans for bad weather and construction.

4. Let the driver choose the radio station or CD.
Even if you find pop music to be the most grating and awful sound in the world, don’t complain. Maybe there’s a book your entire office is reading, or your boss suggested. Perhaps a business related book might be just the sound everyone can agree on.

5. Refrain from using your cell phone; if you must take or make a call, be brief.
Be respectful. If you’re expecting an important call, give your coworkers a heads up. Same goes for texting. And for goodness sake don’t leave the ringer on or clicks, or beeps or anything that make noise.

6. If you’re feeling under the weather and could be contagious, stay home or ride alone that day.
See point number one. Make sure to alert your rideshare group if you’re not going in. Don’t be the person coughing and sneezing all over everyone. If you absolutely must go in, drive yourself.

7. Pay your share of expenses on time.
Establish this early on. Does everyone pay $15 every two weeks? Or does the driver switch on and off?

8. Keep your conversation appropriate, so as not to offend or cause other riders discomfort.
If you wouldn’t want your boss to hear you say it, or have the details of your conversation broadcast over the office intercom system, don’t talk about it during your commute. Silence is better that an off-color joke that could haunt you for years.

9. No back-seat driving!
Self explanatory. Unless the situation poses imminent danger, stay quiet.

10. And finally, respect your fellow riders’ privacy. Inevitably you may overhear a fellow carpooler vent about his boss or discuss a problem she may be having with her child. What goes on in the carpool stays in the carpool.
Again, see number eight.

More tips:

  • Shower often, wear deodorant and avoid strong cologne and perfume. Remember you are in a very small space and a scent that is subtle to you could easily overwhelm the person sitting next to you.
  • Climate control should also be discussed and agreed on early. Should everyone wear their coats in the car in the winter? Is your office temperature freezing in the summer causing everyone to dress in layers?
  • Review emergencies. What happens if the driver or a passenger needs to get home before everyone else because of an emergency or they got food poisoning at lunch?

The main point is to be flexible, open-minded and willing to follow the rules established by the group so every person arrives at the office safe, happy and with extra money in their pockets.

Do you car pool?

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2 thoughts on “Carpooling Rules

  1. I vanpool with 13 others to work every day and LOVE it! It is 2 hours to myself. I listen to my iPod in the morning when it’s dark. In the afternoon I do the same or read or nap. It cost me $45 a month versus $45 a week for my car’s gas, $70 a month to park on campus and then wear/tear on my car. I put about 15 miles a week on my car. HOWEVER, you bring up some very important rules I wish I could forward this to my vanpool. Two ladies at the last pickup put on so much perfume. I sometimes have to breathe through my shirt or open a window which others hate. There is another lady who we ALWAYS have to cater to for temperature because she has been menopausal for 15 years and is always burning up. Even in the winter when it’s 20 degrees the A/C has to be on full blast for her and everyone else bundles up. She refuses medical help for her attention (old hippie and only wants to go au naturel). And of course you have the same five who are always late and make others late to work and get mad when we leave them. And of course there are the cell phone talkers where no aspect of their life is private and the sick ones who sneeze on everyone.

    Have you been sneaking on my vanpool without my knowledge? 🙂

    1. I promise I haven’t been eavesdropping! Your concerns and situations are some of the same I hear all the time, you aren’t alone!
      Good luck. Maybe this post will be the very thing to get the hold outs on the bandwagon. = )
      -Aurora

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