By Dale Miller
car n. a road vehicle with an enclosed passenger compartment, powered by an internal combustion engine; an automobile.
pool n. a receptacle or hole filled with water for swimming, wading, etc.
carpool n. a receptacle or hole filled with a road vehicle.
carpool.ca n. a website dedicated to helping individuals find an alternative to single occupancy vehicle commuting in Canada.
Tired of driving alone or taking transit? Perhaps you should consider getting involved with a carpool- the people at carpool.ca think you should.
“The carpool.ca program is a complete ride-share management system specifically for large corporations and post-secondary institutions,” said Computer Connections representative Anne Marie Thorton. “The program was created by and is managed by Commuter Connections, a British Columbian non-profit organization dedicated to the reduction of single occupancy vehicle use through the implementation and promotion of rideshare programs.”
Roughly speaking, a ride-share management system is a group of individuals sharing a ride to and from work or school at a pre-arranged time. Participants can either share driving responsibilities equally or choose a designated driver who is reimbursed for their vehicular expenses. This saves you gas money, helps the environment and gives you company during your commute.
There is, however, a strict code of etiquette involved where you have to pay your share, not be late, not make pit stops and be considerate to your smell-sensitive brethren.
This program has been available to U of C students since 2000 and there are currently 240 registered participants at the university with over 6,400 participants nation-wide. The program is supported by both the city and the university but it hasn’t been met with a large amount of success.
“We get reports all the time of people trying it, but then wanting to run an errand after work and they’re tied into giving two other people rides,” said U of C Director of Ancillary Services Pete Fraser. “[We have] a lot of interested people, but not a lot of people taking the plunge.”
Fraser felt the program’s trouble comes from the erratic schedules of faculty and the general ease of driving to and parking at the university. Thorton on the other hand believes the carpool.ca program can overcome these obstacles by riding the wave of environmental reform.
“There is now a shift in thinking as many post-secondary leaders question whether land and money used to build parking structures could be better used for classroom and research facilities or left as natural green space,” said Thorton. “Just as establishing recycling programs at universities and colleges has been a wise move, managing transportation demand, rather than accommodating it, makes sense both economically and environmentally.”