Today’s an exciting morning, it’s the start of a carpooling agreement we worked out with our neighbors. After living in the same neighborhood (apartment complex) for almost a year, we only just discovered that we have the same morning commute at approximately the same time.
They always left 10 minutes before we did, so it wasn’t until they were running late last week that we happened to bump into each other on the metro station. I’m quite willing to leave 10 minutes early if it means a) saving money and b) company on the metro ride. We even get off at the same stop.
We’ve worked out an arrangement so that they provide transportation Mondays and we do Wednesdays (a lot of my outside-the-home work is on weekends, which makes it harder to carpool). It’s not big, but it’s saving both of us one trip a week. It’s using less gas. Better for our cars, budgets, environment, and hopefully friendship too.
I’m hoping that this small change mean we spend about the same amount on gas this month as last, despite the price increases.
Some of you may be asking: Why don’t I take a bus to work, or at least to the metro?
Well, the DC metro bus system is a bit complicated. If I take the bus from my apartment to the metro, it costs the full $1.25 fare even if I then transfer to a train. No savings. Coming back, however, it counts as a transfer and I only pay $0.35 with my SmarTrip card. Taking the bus all the way to work would be cheaper but it’s a much longer commute with several bus changes.
Since the metro station is 2+ miles away, it’s farther than I feel like walking, especially in the heat. I’m also not quite comfortable the area.
We did some calculations to figure out the best price/method for the commute. At this point, the round trip for Micah to drop me off at the metro costs less than $1.25 in gas. On the other hand, the $0.35 is about the same/less, since we don’t get great gas mileage in that kind of city driving.
So I get dropped off on the way to work and I take the bus back from the metro, unless Micah has errands near the station or somesuch. In that case, we time them so that he picks me up. I’m not expecting this to make a huge impact in our budget, but it’s another step in the right direction for our money and our planet.
Have you explored your carpooling options? We never even talked with our friends about what time we left in the morning and where we went. It just didn’t come up. You don’t even have to work together, just within walking distance of each other.
Start with the people at your office. If you work in an office building there may be a way to advertise for a carpooling with people in the other companies.
Craigslist is another excellent choice (if you don’t live in a city on that page, click the “more” option). Each city’s Craislist should have a “rideshare” page.