We know it’s not possible for everyone to give up their car for their commute, especially for employees who live and/or work in more suburban areas without access to robust public transit systems. But there’s still a way to limit your number of daily drivers coming to the office.
A carpool program is one of the easiest ways for you to limit the number of employees who drive to work alone every day. Although carpooling still requires driving, reducing the number of people in a single car is key. So how can you get started?
A major advantage of carpooling is the amount of money both you and your employees can save. One of the biggest savings areas for your employees is gas costs. If two to three people are driving to work together, that’s two more people contributing to refilling the tank. Depending on the distance and state, gas can cost a single person almost $1,400 a year. When that cost is split between multiple people, it makes a huge difference.
As the employer, you can also save money due to the reduced need for parking. With parking as expensive as it is today, both to build and to rent, that cost adds up quickly. By encouraging your employees to carpool, you can limit the number of parking spots you need and lower your monthly parking costs.
You can also help employees pay for their gas as well. Giving gas cards to employees who carpool can save them that much more money per month. Even if it’s a small amount, the money they save in the long run will add up, and that’s a huge incentive to encourage a change.
Another popular incentive we’ve seen is preferred parking for carpoolers. When employees know they have an up-front spot that will be available no matter what, it’ll go a long way in convincing them to shift their routine.
So how can you get employees to want to carpool? With a parking cash-out program. That’s exactly what it sounds like — you pay employees the equivalent of a parking space to not drive to work., With the money you save on parking per month, you can pay that money as a bonus to the employees who are giving up their spots.
Another incentive is the access to HOV lanes they’ll be getting now that they have multiple people in the car. This can also help employees who have to pay a toll on the way to the office. Depending on the area, some expressways charge commuters tolls to drive at certain times of the day, like rush hour. But tolls are usually less for commuters who carpool. You can also make their lives easier by helping employees with toll costs per month, if they carpool.
Even though setting up a carpooling program may sound easy, you're going to need to help your employees and hold their hands a little bit. A great place to start is finding employees who live in close proximity to one another. Commuting is already a burden, and no one is going to want to drive too much farther out of their way.
Once you find a group or a few groups of employees who live near each other, the next step is setting up a schedule that all members of a carpooling group have access to. You will also want to communicate the benefits and incentives offered to employees who carpool.
If you have employees who don’t live near others, you can still get them set up in a carpooling program. San Francisco-based Scoop is made for individuals looking to carpool to work. The platform caters to professionals looking for a ride to work, as well as professionals looking to drive riders going in the same general direction as them.
Scoop also has enterprise solutions, for employers of all sizes, who don’t know exactly how to get a carpool program started. They will come to your office for informational events, provide you with reporting and analytics, and match up employees with the most similar commuting patterns. So pretty much handle your carpool program for you!
Waze, the GPS app that helps drivers avoid traffic, has a carpooling app! The app pairs up professionals who are commuting in the same direction. Users can choose to be either a rider or driver. Waze also breaks down costs between riders and drivers so the financial burden is distributed evenly – including gas and tolls. The app also allows users to set their schedule by when a driver is leaving for work and when a rider wants to leave.
No matter how you set your employees up, carpooling can be a great way for them to minimize parking costs and bond with each other outside of the office. The benefits are clear — you just have to help them get there!