Carpool. Car-pool. Car pool. Car. Pool.

I’m always late. My car is filthy. I listen to country music. I apply makeup in the rear view mirror.

Want to carpool with me?

Goal number 8 for 2017: Drive less. I’ve already been combining errands, taking fewer trips, and arranging small rides together with Lily. But its been a goal of mine to really step this up a notch. I don’t have an eco-chic hybrid or zero emissions vehicle, and that isn’t in the budget for a few years at least. I DO have an 8 passenger mini van that my kids naively think is a convertible, hehe, and I love to fill it up with as many humans as are willing to enter.

img_7521I have a vision that Elon Musk is going to invent a fleet of Teslas, powered by an App so robust that you can order a self-driving vehicle with the convenience of an Uber, with wi-fi capabilities, comfy cozy beds for naps, movie screens, yoga mats and spinning bikes, and wine on tap. You can enter your commute or destination and a time you need to arrive by, have a pickup time, specify if you can handle ridesharing along your route for efficient carpooling, but only within a certain window of time so you can still arrive to your destination with little impact on your ETA.

These magical uninvented traveling pods will be powered by renewables, and have solar and wind etc. self-charging capabilities built into the vehicle. People won’t need personal vehicles anymore. No more car payments, vehicle maintenance to schedule and procrastinate about, no tires to dribble, no more fluids to top off, no more oil dripping onto the ground and washing away into waterways. Gas stations refilled by exploding gas-powered trucks that leak gasoline into the ground won’t be necessary anymore. Bulging highways with lane after lane after newly widened lane will be obsolete and replaced with more efficient “streets” for only these self-driving cars. There would be fewer accidents! Fewer broken bones, less whip lash and cervical neck pain, fewer traffic fatalities AND you could talk or text on your phone to your heart’s content. No more speeding tickets doled out by the PoPo, cranky because their wives won’t let them eat palm oil doughnuts or peanut butter M&Ms.

You heard it here first!

Until I can make it rich with this scheme I just outlined, I plan to carpool more. I’m stalking my fellow coworkers until they agree to ride to work with me. Or let me in their car. A few have even relented!

There are a few flaws in my plan. I mentioned them outright: I’m always late. My car is filthy. I listen to country music. I apply makeup in the rear view mirror. These are serious carpool etiquette violations! Note to self: be on time, not just “Ahern Time,” show up with my face already applied, allow for conversation and/or silence, and keep the cars tidy (notice that I didn’t say “clean.” I’m aiming for tidy for now). Brush up on how to avoid getting dropped off on the side of the road with this list of do’s and don’ts.

My company offers perks for carpooling, and yours may too!! I can register our carpool for a parking voucher for preferential parking spaces. Log 10 or more rides a quarter, and we could win prizes. They also offer an emergency ride home insurance, where I can get a free ride home if I used a green commute to work and need to leave early apart from by commuting party. Check with your HR!

I love being a diamond! Carpoolers get to take advantage of reduced or waved toll, and faster rides in commuter lanes.

The San Francisco bay area has this website to help people with similar commutes establish a carpool with others in the public or even within one’s own company. They list numerous park-n-ride lots that are near populated areas and other routes of public transportation for easy meet ups. The East Bay even has casual carpool with places where people line up to get into cars of people they haven’t even arranged to meet up with, to get dropped off at a designated spot in downtown San Francisco. You can enter your commute and they have a cute little calculator that tells you how much CO2 you likely offset by ridesharing, and how much gas and vehicle maintenance cost you saved. Check it out!

One shared commute a week would really add up to savings not only in dollars, but also in your carbon footprint.img_6323

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