Each year Carpool Week encourages drivers across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to try carpooling or, if they have an existing carpool, adding another person to the trip. The benefits of sharing the drive are many but the easiest to understand is drive together, to save together – money and time. This year Carpool Week is February 5 – 11, 2018.
In fact, last year those who logged their trip on the Smart Commute Tool saved a lot of money. How much? A total of $390,000 – that’s the equivalent to a mortgage! Savings come in many forms from splitting the cost of gas or less wear and tear on a car means fewer repairs. Time savings are both individual and regional. When driving with more than two people, carpoolers can use the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes getting you where you want to go faster. Regionally, this means less congestion on the roads.
Below are two carpooling success stories from across the GTHA. Learn how people have saved on their commutes while enriching their quality of life by sharing the drive.
If you like what you read, try carpooling. Use the Smart Commute Tool to find your match and start saving!
Meet Sandra and Kathy – Durham Region
Sandra and Kathy work for the Region of Durham but live outside of Whitby. Both were equally frustrated by the solitary drive into work. Then, eight years ago, Smart Commute launched its first ride-matching tool in the form of Carpool Zone (known today as the Smart Commute Tool).
The Region of Durham being ever so forward thinking adopted the program and launched it internally. And wow, what a difference it made! Sandra and Kathy were matched. “It was easy as pie. We met, had a coffee and gave it a shot,” says Sandra.
Driving into work together means they are saving money on gas, helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions, saving time by using the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
“We drive 37 kilometres into work against traffic. Transit wasn’t a viable option due to the distance,” says Kathy.
Along with monetary savings, Sandra and Kathy share personal and professional learnings. Because they both work for the same organization in different departments they have engaging professional dialogue and try to understand each other’s perspective on the same issue.
“Technology and distance connected us. It’s been really successful. A wonderful friendship has come about – that’s the icing on the cake,” says Kathy.
The IMAX Carpoolers – Peel Region
Lorna works in Mississauga for IMAX. She found her carpool match, Chris, three years ago simply by asking to share the drive. Lorna and Chris have since driven the 90 km each way together. Lorna remembers, “we were complete strangers when I approached him but have become fast friends. We share music, jokes, stories of our kids and talk about our careers.”
Then in 2015 the high-occupancy (HOV) lanes required three or more people for use due to the Pan Am/Para Pan Am games. They both turned to the Smart Commute Tool to add another carpool match to their ride. And that’s how their carpool family expanded to include William.
The stress has been greatly reduced for all three. “Driving with two car loving techies means they take pleasure in investigating strange noises in my car,” says Lorna of her experience.
Finally, by driving together, they save together. Cost savings have personally totalled almost $10,000 per year for Lorna. They share the cost of driving on the 407 and maintenance fees on the vehicle decreased dramatically.
“My commute is survivable thanks to my carpool ‘family’ and I am very grateful them both for sharing their rides, and three hours a day of their lives, with me,” says Lorna.