How Carpooling Can Be Unexpectedly Beneficial

What are some unexpected benefits of carpooling? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Josh Fried, Head of Waze Carpool, on Quora:

First and foremost, when you commit to carpooling, you are taking an actionable step towards reducing congestion in your region. However, most people are surprised to learn that carpooling can be a fantastic opportunity to make new connections that you otherwise wouldn’t. I regularly rely on Carpool when I commute from my home in San Francisco to my office at the Google campus in Mountain View. At nearly 30 miles, it’s not an easy commute, especially during rush hour. Thanks to Carpool, I don’t have to sit alone for an hour and can have some nice conversations with my fellow carpoolers. I know of one Waze Carpool rider who was learning how to speak Mandarin and would often practice with one of her regular drivers. I’ve also seen stories of Carpoolers who received career advice from riders and, thanks to their help, landed a new job.

We work closely with a number of large employers in major metropolitan areas, and partner with them to raise awareness of Carpool among their employees. You can register for Carpool using your work email address, so that you are paired with a fellow co-worker. For those that work at large companies, carpooling is a great opportunity to get to know a fellow employee from a different department or team who you might not normally meet.

When you start carpooling regularly, you’ll also have the added benefit of saving time and money. Let’s talk about many people’s favorite benefit of carpooling - money saving. With prices set to reimburse drivers for gas and other ride-related costs, Waze Carpool offers an easy way to cover the expenses of a ride you are already planning on making. For example, here in the San Francisco Bay area, we are seeing notable savings across the region:

  • Driving between San Francisco and San Jose? When you use Carpool, you can save an average of $22 round trip.
  • Need to make a trip from the East Bay to San Francisco? With Carpool, you can also save an average of $10 in gas round trip.

Once you factor in how often you make these commutes, these savings can truly add up and lead to impactful savings. I know of drivers who have not only used money saved from Carpool to cover gas, but also routine car maintenance and insurance.

Now that you’re commuting in a car with 3 or 4 other people, you and your fellow Carpoolers can take full advantage of HOV lanes, which can really help cut down commute times during rush hour. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we know Waze users who took HOV lanes between San Francisco and San Jose saved up to 3 hours a week!

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