Forget minivans and hitchhiker thumbs.
Carpooling’s gone high-tech.
A wave of new phone apps and websites designed for carpoolers allow users to find and share available car seats seamlessly on their devices. And as some of the programs are proving, modern-age carpooling may be an affordable transportation option for even the most basic of trips—trips like your morning commute and taxi rides around your city.
The New York Times reports that 76% of drivers travel alone, leaving between one and seven seats open per ride in the average automobile. To keep fuel costs down and commute times low (think H.O.V. lane!), many of these drivers are reconsidering the carpool.
The Times mentioned a handful of sites and apps to facilitate rides, and we couldn’t help but look into some of the more intriguing options. Here are some of our favorites:
You may have already heard about (or even tested) Zimride.com, a website that allows you to post information about your travel plans and offer up seats in your car to other users. You can set a price for each trip (contingent on gas prices and car amenities) and can even create a custom profile to find ride sharers with similar interests … because you deserve to hear the tunes you want on your five-hour road trip.
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Another option is Carpooling.com, a newcomer to the U.S. ride-share world. Carpooling.com operates in 5,000 cities worldwide and is rapidly expanding. Carpooling.com has saved 386,000,000 liters of gas since the site’s start in 2001. Talk about cutting transportation costs.
But for those with budgets that don’t allow for hundred-mile road trips, carpooling apps can also facilitate jaunts around your home city at low fees. Sidecar, a new smartphone app, functions like a taxi service. To join the Sidecar network, log into the app on your phone, select your starting point and destination and view rides in your area that fit your travel plans. As The New York Times explains, costs are “rider-friendly.” That is to say, the cost of each ride isn’t preset. Instead, riders decide how much they want to pay based on a listing of past rides covering similar distances.
Of course, drivers who opt in to carpool programs can earn spare cash just by driving their daily routes. And some sites, like Carpooling.com, set minimum prices for rides so that drivers are sure to cover gas costs and more.
Don’t care for the thought of sharing a ride with someone? You can rent your car to people in your city and skip the small talk. Check out options here.
We’re hooked on any sites that could get us green (and save us another kind of green!) with just a click.