A carpool program is used by multiple individuals who share one personal vehicle for transportation. This is also sometimes known as car-sharing, ride-sharing, or lift-sharing. Usually, a program such as this is used to get to a specific destination, like work or school, on a daily basis. Drivers can either take turns, or riders can help one driver pay for expenses. Carpooling offers several advantages to communities and commuters, so the practice is often encouraged and special lanes are dedicated for carpool use only.
If more than one person rides in one vehicle to reach a destination, this is often referred to as carpooling. In some areas, just two passengers constitute a carpool, but in others, a carpool may need to consist of at least three or four people. Just about any type of legal, registered vehicle can be used for a carpool program, including a car or van.
Carpool programs can be used to transport several commuters to one location. Usually, this is done most days of the week. Several people who live in the suburbs of a city, for instance, can create a carpool to get to work each day. Many parents have also created a carpool program to transport their children to school or social activities as well.
These programs can be set up a couple of ways. One commuter may be designated to drive each day. This driver can then calculate how much money is needed to drive everyone each week, based on things like fuel cost and mileage. The passengers can then share these expenses. Some carpoolers take turns driving in a carpool program, and no money is exchanged.
Carpooling is typically encouraged, especially in large cities. Special highway lanes, known as high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, or carpool lanes, have even been created for carpoolers. To use these lanes, drivers must have a certain number of human passengers to avoid being pulled over and fined. Some individuals have tried to use creative means to drive in the carpool lane, prompting law enforcement officials to specify what counts as a human passenger. Inflatable dolls, pets, fetuses, and ghosts, for instance, are not considered eligible human passengers.
A carpool program has several advantages. Carpooling lowers the cost of transportation for everyone as each participant saves money on fuel and parking. It is also considered green transportation, since it is more environmentally friendly to use fewer vehicles. Fewer cars on the road release less harmful vapors into the atmosphere.