Set up a ride share contact list for your neighborhood. This idea is perfect for environmentally conscious people who would love to save gasoline while making some new social contacts.  

A list such as this will work best if posted on your neighborhood Web site or electronic forum. Or, create a list, photocopy it, and distribute it to your neighbors.

Online, create three sections within your car-pool topic: “Commuters wishing to share driving,” “Commuters looking for rides,” and “Car pools looking for riders.” Create an instruction page that helps people know what type of information they should post in each category. For instance, have people specify the dates they are available, commute times (both length and what time they need to arrive or leave a certain location), origin and end points of their commute, and how many seats are available in their vehicle. Of course, have people post their phone numbers or email addresses so they can contact one another to arrange the rides. 

For ease of use, you could even set up a chart or spreadsheet that can be filled in with the proper information, and then users can access the data they need in an easy-to-read grid format.

Also include a section on your list with pertinent information such as “non-smoker” or “dogs ride in car” in case someone has an allergy. Offer a way for ride-share participants to provide you with feedback on the process and the outcome of their carpooling.

This car-pool list doesn’t have to be used just for those commuting to and from work. It could also be a great place to connect with people traveling to major events around town (such as sporting event or local fair), or even for youth and young adults to find ride shares to and from school.

Advertise the details of your car-pool listing by posting fliers around your neighborhood or by sending out a neighborhood e-mail. And then start taking advantage of shared rides with your neighbors!

Instant Intentions

Traveling with people you don’t know very well can be exciting, but it can also be awkward. Be prepared in advance with some questions and conversation starters to get the ball rolling. Absorb the new information you’re learning about your neighbors, and then if you share rides in the future you can bring up a familiar topic, or ask them about something you learned the last time you rode together. If the opportunity arises, ask a car pool partner if you can pray for a certain situation in his or her life – and then follow up with the person later to see how they’re doing. 

-          From the book, Field Guide to Neighborhood Outreach by Group Publishing, 2007.

Note: Another way to expand your car-pool list would be to share rides for local youth activities, such as sports practices, school play rehearsals, and other extracurricular activities. Make sure your car insurance is sufficient to cover all riders in case of an accident. It’s always fun to get to use the car-pool lane for the freeway on-ramp during rush hour!! – Lisa Jaeger