Smart Commuters Share their Stories
Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Alone
Newmarket, January 2013 ~ A carpool for two is the commute mode of choice for Stephanie and Rose Anne. After many years of friendship, and a few years as co-workers at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, they decided to give the environment, and their wallets, a break!
“Our carpool started in November of 2011, and has been going strong ever since,” says Stephanie. “We work the same hours at the same location, so this has definitely simplified the carpooling process – not to mention, we live in the same neighbourhood.”
In addition to saving money on gas and parking (an estimated total of $613 each, so far), being Smart Commuters also entitles Stephanie and Rose Anne guaranteed access to onsite parking. Now that’s a bonus!
Since early mornings are never fun, Stephanie and Rose Anne try to jazz up their commutes by selecting a CD of the week. “While Rose Anne and I are big into Country music, we like to experiment with artists that are suggested to us by friends,” says Stephanie. “We use our time commuting to explore and expand our world of music and we are both very open to trying different music styles.” Additionally, they have learned to be flexible and accommodate each other’s needs, which sometimes include making pit stops to get some errands done.
Aside from being good friends, carpooling for Stephanie and Rose Anne has been a success because they’ve made a commitment to keep the lines of communication open. “Communication is key,” says Rose Anne. Sometimes scheduled work hours change and one of them may need to leave earlier, or stay later. Keeping in touch throughout the day and being open to flexible work hours have allowed them to adapt their carpool schedule, so they both end up safe and sound at home at the end of the day.
Southlake Regional Health Centre is a Smart Commute Central York workplace.
Carpooling – It’s a Win-Win!
Newmarket, January 2013 ~ When you think of carpooling, it would be fair to assume that the key motivator is to save money, in addition to reducing your environmental impact of course. In most cases this would probably be true, but Betsy and Erin’s story is a little different.
As Town of Newmarket employees commuting from Barrie, Betsy and Erin sure have a long way to travel! When Erin was hired in 2011, Betsy offered to pick her up in the mornings and drive the 60 kilometres to work together. “My job requires access to a vehicle because I travel between the town’s municipal sites, so I always drive,” explains Betsy.
“Our car rides typically consist of me sharing stories and talking constantly, while Erin quietly listens. She can probably tell you my entire life story by now!” Betsy says. “We also like listening to CBC radio, and have experienced some interesting encounters on the highway – it’s crazy what some people do while they drive.”
To balance her long days, busy work and family responsibilities, Betsy looks forward to occasional date nights with her husband, which sometimes requires a babysitter. This is where the carpooling arrangement comes in handy! Instead of sharing the cost of gas, Erin simply returns the favour by babysitting Betsy’s children – a win-win situation.
“Having someone to talk to, especially in traffic, is great… and having a reliable babysitter is even better!” says Betsy. “Our carpooling arrangement has worked out perfectly so far. Erin and I are able to accommodate each other in such a way that we both benefit. I look forward to our continued carpool relationship.”
The Town of Newmarket is a Smart Commute Central York workplace.
Mike (Southlake Regional Health Center) on Carpool Zone
“Less than two hours after registering online, the system found a perfect ride match. After connecting via email we decided to give it a try with an open outlook, both insisting that if we drove one another crazy we would sever our commuting relationship immediately. As it turned out we are similar in age and life circumstances so we actually get along well, providing each other with a voice to reason with, other than the radio!
The advantages and ease of use of this program are great and I strongly encourage others to give it a try:
- We’re saving money on gas and wear and tear on our vehicles.
- We’re decreasing the number of airborne pollutants.
- Most importantly, I have struck up a friendship with someone that I would have never otherwise met.”
Mazy, Sarah, Daisy, Emily, and Amelia on carpooling
Mazy, Sarah, Daisy, Emily, and Amelia carpool together every day from Markham to Newmarket. They started out as two-person group in 2006, but quickly expanded. Members of this carpool take turns driving once a week. They all point to the cost saving as the biggest reason they keep carpooling. Emily estimates she saves $8 to $10 on gas every day that she leaves her car at home, never mind the reduced wear and tear on her vehicle. If she keeps carpooling as long as her fellow riders have, she will save over $3,000! When considering the many carpool advantages, the group cites premium parking spots as a close second to cost savings. They value the friendships they have formed along the way and also appreciate having the group’s extra eyes on the road when they are in the driver’s seat.