Carpooling isn’t just for workplace commuters or folks who want to speed through the HOV lane. Families can turn to carpooling to shuttle their kids to and from school and activities, saving them money and benefiting the environment at the same time. If you’re looking for a better way to manage your children’s transportation needs, new apps for organizing an old-fashioned car pool might be the ideal solution.
Why We Need Carpooling
According to a report from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, bus ridership decreased from 2007 to 2014, while car ridership increased. As more children are driven to school, car lines get longer and air pollution can increase around schools. Encouraging carpooling can help everyone zip through the car line faster, breathe easier, and have more time to meet work and life obligations.
A survey by family ridesharing company Hop Skip Drive found that 51% of surveyed parents reported that they spend at least 5 hours per week driving their kids. A third of those respondents noted that they drive their kids for more than 10 hours per week. Carpooling can help parents get some of that time back. You also might make some new friends in the process.
Carpooling makes sense financially, since it results in valuable gas savings. Let’s say you drive a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon of gas. If you have a 15-mile round-trip drive to your child’s school, and gas costs $2.30 per gallon, you’ll spend about $92 per month in gas if you make that trip twice a day.
But, let’s say that you arrange a daily car pool with another family. You could reduce your fuel costs by half, saving about 20 gallons of gas and $46 per month. This adds up to a savings of $400 a year and the prevention of an excess 400 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Adding a third family increases the savings even more.
Try the Commuter Cost Calculator for yourself and see just how much carpooling could save you in gas and carbon emissions.
Finding the Right Car Pool for Your Family
You may already know of other families who would make ideal car pool partners. If that’s not the case, there are several apps designed specifically to make it easier for families and school communities to arrange car pools.
CarpooltoSchool is available for iOS and Android. School administrators can use this app to make it easy for students’ parents to find and set up car pools with parents who might not be in their immediate social networks.
GoKid is available for both iOS and Android. This app makes it easy to schedule car pools with other parents, and school administrators can also sign up for GoKid Connect to help parents find and create car pools within the school community. The app also plots the optimal route for drivers and sends automatic reminders at pick-up times and when it’s your turn to drive.
Chaperone is an app for iOS and Android. With Chaperone, you can find other parents who also need help getting their kids to school. Schedule daily, weekly, or monthly car pools for your kids through the app. You can even pay a fellow parent to take your driving turn through the app.
Pogo, available for both iOS and Android, is a carpooling app that matches you to other drivers who have things in common, like your route and carpooling needs. Pogo will compare your schedules with other drivers and create a car pool for you.
Carpool-Kids is an iOS app that allows you to invite friends, set up one-time or repeating car pools, and get email updates to keep everyone up to date on each car pool.
Car pools mean fewer cars on the road and convenient transportation solutions for kids, too. If you haven’t done so yet, start reaching out to your child’s friends’ parents and see if you can put a car pool together. And if you think that your school system could benefit from more car pools, suggest that they partner with one of the apps to benefit your whole community.