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FAQ

What is carpooling?

Carpooling is defined as two or more persons sharing their daily commute on a regular basis.


Who Benefits?

Your wallet: The Canadian Automobile Association reports the average yearly cost to operate a car can be as much as $9,000 year, or nearly $25 per day! Carpooling can help you offset these costs. The more people you share your commute with, the more you can expect to save.

Your health: The congestion and volume of traffic on the roads are a major source of stress for many drivers. Studies show that those who commute by means other than a single-occupancy vehicle demonstrate lower levels of stress, higher morale, and lower blood pressure.

The environment: The environment is everyone’s business. Using fewer cars means less pollution, conservation of habitat, and less demand for new roads and parking lots. Using fewer cars also means less production of greenhouse gases, a major contributor to climate change. Carpool regularly and you can feel proud that you’re helping the environment.


How do I find a carpool partner?

It’s easy, just follow these 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Visit www.carpool.ca and register on-line by providing the system with information about your commuting habits.

Step 2: While on-line, request a ‘match list’. This is a list of matches that the system has determined as compatible based on the information you have provided.

Step 3: Make a connection. Contact those on your match list to determine whether a carpool can be arranged.


What if I don’t find any compatible matches?

Try adjusting your search settings. The default setting searches within a relatively close distance from where you live, but this can be increased to expand your match possibilities. The more flexibility you provide when matching, the greater your chances of finding matches.

The www.carpool.ca system has over 10,000 registered participants across Canada, however, the program is new in some areas and it can take time for people to register and populate the database. If you don't find compatible partners on the first try, please check back for new matches. The system also has a built in ‘poke’ option that will alert you by email when there are new matches in your area.


Are participants Screened?

No. The Carpool.ca system is provided solely to assist commuters in identifying potential carpool partners. Carpool.ca, its partners and sponsors, do not screen participants. We do not run background checks on participants, check for valid drivers’ licenses, or assess insurance coverage. We highly recommend getting to know your carpool partners before you begin carpooling.


How do we make it work?

It’s always a good idea to get together as a group and set a few ground rules. This gives everyone a chance to be up-front about their expectations. Some points for discussion are included on this page.


I am a non-smoker and don’t want to ride with smokers. Is this possible?

The www.carpool.ca can screen for a variety of preferences, including smoking and gender. Simply indicate your preference and you will be matched with others that meet your criteria.


Who does the driving?

In some carpools, each carpool member takes turns driving their own vehicle, while in others there is only one driver. It is completely dependent upon the individual circumstances of those in your carpool.


What if I don't have a car?

No problem. When prompted to provide your driving preferences, simply indicate that you wish to be a passenger only. You can also choose to share driving.


How much should carpool passengers pay?

The answer to this question varies from one carpool group to another. In carpools where driving is equally shared, no money needs to change hands as each member is using their personal vehicle an equal amount of time. When one person does the all driving, or when there is an unequal split of driving responsibilities, the cost-sharing arrangement should be discussed by those in the carpool. The carpool members are free to base the costs on whatever they may choose. Sharing parking and fuel expenses is most common.


Do you have a checklist that our new carpool group could access to guide us through the process of establishing a successful carpool?

Yes, please download our Carpool Discussion Checklist here http://www.carpool.ca/Includes/Documents/discussion_checklist.pdf


How much will I save by carpooling?

Depending on your vehicle and driving patterns, the cost per km of driving a vehicle can range from approximately $0.40 to over $0.80 per kilometre. (see the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) at www.caa.ca. If you can share the cost of commuting to and from work by carpooling with others, your potential savings are significant.


Do I have to carpool every day?

No! This is the most common misconception around carpooling. Our carpool.ca survey results show that the average carpooler carpools 3 days per week. Everyone has commitments outside of their daily commute. You could carpool every day or only once or twice a week. You and your carpool members decide upon the schedule. Some people even belong to two carpools - you may carpool with one carpool on Mondays and Wednesdays and then join a second carpool for the remainder of the week. You might also be able to carpool to work and then take transit home at the end of the day.


What happens if I oversleep or am late?

Being on-time is just as important in a carpool as it is with transit. Each carpool should have clearly defined guidelines for how long they will wait.


What if I have a doctor's appointment or errands to run before, after, or during work?

Schedule your appointments and errands on the days you don't carpool. Your carpool only serves one purpose – getting you back in forth to work or school.


Where/When do we meet?

Determine where you will meet, at what time, and how long you will wait for someone who is late. Be on time.


What if something comes up at the last minute and I have to change my carpool plans?

For those rare occasions when you’re sick, late, or the car won’t start, make sure you have a current list of everyone’s home, work and cell phone numbers.


What if I have to drive my child to day care or school?

If the other members of your carpool don't have similar arrangements, make the day-care centre or the school your pick-up and drop-off point. That way you can schedule your pick-up time to correspond to the time when you know your child is happily settled in for the day.

Note: If you are going to have a pick-up/drop-off point different than your home address, you must enter the address of the location where you would like to be picked up and dropped off.


What if I have to work late?

If you know you have to work late on a particular day then don't carpool or make arrangements to take the bus home. Carpooling is meant to be a flexible and convenient arrangement. On those days when it is not convenient, commute to work in another manner. Take the bus, your bike, walk, or bring your own car.


What if my site/destination is not listed?

The provision of the www.carpool.ca system is dependent on funding from regions and/or institutions. The program is not available everywhere in Canada. If it is available in your area, you will be able to register. If you would like information about introducing the www.carpool.ca system at your workplace or in your region, please contact us at information@carpool.ca.

If you live in the Toronto area, please visit www.smartcommute.ca. If you live in the Vancouver area, please visit www.ride-share.com.


What if my carpool isn't working out?

Let your present carpool group know that you’re leaving and go back to the www.carpool.ca to find a new carpool partner and try again. You can do the same if you need to replace carpool members.


Is there a charge to use www.carpool.ca?

No, www.carpool.ca is fully funded through partnerships with regional governments, post-secondary institutions or employers. www.carpool.ca is free to users.


Is my information private?

We know that security is very important to you. You can be assured that our database is very secure. While online, you will be identifiable to other users only through a your first name until you’re ready to make contact with carpool matches.


Why have I not received an activation email?

Try looking in your "junk mail" (or similar) folder as strong spam-filtering email servers may filter out our messages. Consider adding our email address (information@carpool.ca) to your "safe" list.


I received my activation email, but I’m unable to activate my file. What do I do?

Unfortunately, we continue to experience problems with Hotmail, Gmail and some other email providers. Their servers corrupt our activation links on delivery. If this happens to you, please be aware that our system administrator will be notified. We will activate your file and the system will send you a notification and new password so that you may log in and continue. If you experience any further issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


I have a new email address, but the system will not let me update it. Why not? Can you update my profile for me?

Each registrant must verify their email address by clicking a link sent to the email address provided. By clicking the emailed link, users prove that this is an active email address. This ensures our database only contains accurate email addresses. For this very reason, we cannot change your email address. If you wish to use a new email address, you will need to delete the old file and re-register.


My work address does not match your map. Why?

Large institutions often process their mail centrally and use that postal code as part of their address -- in other words, not in the building that you work in! Try using an adjacent postal code or address from across the street or a nearby area using Canada Post's site at http://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pcl/bin/advanced-e.asp. Also, let us know about it by contacting our support centre through our Contact Us link.


How do I make changes to my trips or add additional trips?

Log-in using your email address and password and makes changes as needed.


I have sent suggestions without any replies/results. Am I doing something wrong?

No. Unfortunately, some users do not communicate with suggestions that do not interest them. Please consider no response as a decline.


Many of my matches have been registered for over a year. Is the data old?

Participants are given regular opportunities to have their file removed from our db. It often takes months or years to find carpool partners that meet specific needs so many stay registered for long periods. Some registrants may also leave their files active because they are always looking for new carpool group members. All matches should be considered active matches.


What about car insurance?

Check your policy if you will be a driver in a carpool. Your insurance rates may rise or fall if you carpool on a regular basis. To adequately protect yourself and your passengers, liability insurance of at least $2,000,000 is recommended as well as underinsured motorist protection. These are a good investment and cost only a few dollars more each year. We also recommend that you notify your insurance provider of your intent to carry passengers.

Passengers should also protect themselves by asking drivers about their insurance coverage.


What if I only want to match with people from my workplace?

Outreach and program promotion is a major component of the www.carpool.ca program. Many employers encourage staff to use www.carpool.ca. If you prefer to match only with co-workers, simply select ‘match same destination’ under match settings. Please note that this can also be very limiting as some employers only have a few registrants. You will achieve better results not using this feature and will still be able to visually screen for matches that are traveling to your workplace.


I'd like to have a poster or brochure to show my co-workers. Where can I get promotional materials?

Check out the Marketing and Promotion sections of our site. We have a variety of materials that can be downloaded for use. If you would like a supply of materials (only available in partnership regions/sites), please download the ‘Order Form for Promotional Materials’. Complete the form and send in. Please allow 2 weeks for shipping.

If you have specific needs for a promotional event, please contact us at information@carpool.ca.


How do we keep our carpool working?

The key to long-term success in any relationship includes communication, understanding, respect, honesty and flexibility. Your commitment to carpooling can result in long-term savings and unexpected friendships.