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My experience with car pooling

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I have been living in Bombay for the past 15 months.  Chose a place to live close to my children's school to minimize their commute.  A number of my (now ex-) colleagues live in the same area - some in the same building, some within 5 minutes walk.   I changed jobs in Jan and my new office is about 1.7 km from my old. 

3 of us (DS, GK and I) have been car pooling for the past 15 months.  There are two others (RV and GS) who run their own car pool.  So between the 5 of us, we use 2 cars on a daily basis. 

DS, GK and I tend to want to leave home a bit early - 7:20-7:30 to beat the Bombay traffic which can be crazy once the clock strikes 8 a.m.  Our common office (till Jan) is about 12km from home and 13 km on the way back thanks to some one-ways and no-right turn rules.  On the way back we tend to leave somewhere at 5:30 to 5:45 - again to beat the rush.  If one of us is late, then we hitch a ride with the others living in the same area (total about 8).  No one minds us bumming a ride as it is for a good cause :).

In the 15 months that we've been car pooling if we had each been using our cars, we would have driven about 300*25km = 7500 km.  Take away public holidays, vacation, business trips, etc - maybe 6500 km.  My usage has been 2500 km and similar numbers for the others. 

From Jan I changed jobs and my new office is 1.7 km from my old.  But we've still kept the car pool going.  The days I take my car, I drop them off at their office and then continue.  And on the way back pick them up.  Other days, I get off and walk the 1.7 km.  And on the way back, walk back and join them.

Some tangible and intangible benefits

a. I have saved about 500l of petrol or about Rs.35000 over the past 15 months.  Better than setting fire to it in the form of petrol.

b. No need for a driver and so a notional saving of Rs.10000 per month.

c.  Divides the stress of driving in Bombay trafffic (and you have to see it in the evening to believe it).

d. Company during bad traffic.

e. Integrates about 10 km of walking each week into my normal routine. 

f. Reduces the burden on Bombay roads.

To make it work there has to be some flexibility.  Some days, we leave at 6:30 instead of 5:45.  No material difference - instead of reaching at 6:30, we reach at 7:45.  But because of the company, you don't feel fatigued after reaching home. 

If one of us knows we will be very late, we just let the others know and then we hitch a ride back with GS and RV in their car - which leaves typically at 5:45.  

On the whole it is eminently possible to keep a car pool going.  We're managing it even in the monsoon.

What are your experiences if any?




kbsyed61's picture

Mini version of PT system

152 users have liked.


Looks like you are enjoying the fruits of daily commute by carpool. I am sure it is a win-win situation all the way. I am in a satellite office on East Coast, while our headquarters in Los Angeles has some good carpool encouragement programs like premium parking slots for carpool registered groups. Otherwise one has to go 10th or 12th floor to park.

In US most freeways in cities has HOV lanes. In order to make use of HOV lanes I have seen people in Washington DC, after office hours holding Placards of the Free way Number on it to lure others to ride with them.

Even some Mosques due to lack of enough parking spaces inside, on Fridays, has their parking reserved only for Cars with more than 3 occupants.


Anithasunil's picture

I car pooled for a long time,

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I car pooled for a long time, before starting to take the company shuttle. My workplace is close to ITPL, and stay about 17 km from the workplace. Although the Company has shuttles, there was none in my route. 4 of us got together as a group to campaign for a company shuttle. Since the company required a minimum of 10 people to start a cab (tempo traveller) on a route, we decided to satrt car pooling. 

The car pooling worked well, especially when the Outer ring road flyovers were being built, and traffic snarls would last for a long time! Having company during those traffic blocks, calms you quite a bit.

It worked well for us, since 3 of the 4 had cars. More than the monetary benefit, before getting the car pool going, all four of us used to take BMTC volvos, not being comfortable driving alone in such traffic. The company made the driving easier. We saved quite a bit on time, compared to BMTC buses!

Timing was never an issue for us, since we used to follow the company cab times. Used to reach office along with the cabs, and leave with them. The cabs timings were decided so as to minimise the time in traffic, reaching office by 7:40am, and leaving by 4:45pm. Since the cab times were respected for meetings wihtin office etc to a great extend, we did not have too much trouble in the evenings. In case there was someone with a meeting after 5:00pm they used to book a cab from the company, allocated for leaving office late (after 7:00pm).

By now, we met another 2 groups who were carpooling from nearby area, for the lack of company transport, and we together convinced the company to start a shuttle :) 

Bye to car pooling for now! comment guidelines

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