What is ridesharing?
Ridesharing is sharing your ride to work with one or more individuals. Ridesharing includes car pooling and van pooling.
Why should I car pool?
How do I find other car poolers?
Friends, neighbors or people you work with are always a great place to start. You can also use Match & Ride to find other car poolers you are compatible with.
Is car pooling safe?
If you follow a few simple safety guidelines, car pooling is a safe way to commute. Never get in a car with someone you don’t know before meeting them first in a public place. Ask for ID, driving records and personal references if necessary. Don’t travel with someone you don’t trust—there are plenty of options available to you. Learn more about car pooling safety.
What if I have errands or appointments during the work day and need my car?
Try to schedule appointments on days when you do not car pool. When that isn’t possible, tell the people you car pool with that you won’t be car pooling that day.
What if there is an emergency or I have to work late?
The emergency ride program provides free taxi service in emergency situations for registered users. Register now.
Is every member of the car pool required to drive?
It depends on your particular arrangement. It’s not unusual for a car pool to include people who do not drive at all. In these cases, the non-drivers usually pay an agreed-upon fee to help cover the commuting expenses. In many car pools, drivers will take turns on a daily, weekly or other pre-determined basis. Your group can decide what works best for you.
What if my car pool isn’t working out?
It often takes some time for a car pool to start working smoothly for everyone, so try to have patience and give it a fair chance. But if you find that it’s not working, for whatever reason, leave. You are under no obligation to stay. Notify all members of the car pool about your decision and look for new car pools or other forms of alternative transit. Find more tips on breaking up with your car pool.
Do I have to car pool every day?
No. Talk to your car pooling group and work out a schedule that works for you. Some people choose to car pool just once or twice a week—it’s still a great way to save money, help the environment and enjoy the many other benefits of car pooling.
What happens if I’m late?
Just like public transportation, keeping a car pool on schedule is the key to it working properly. If one person is late, this affects other people as well. Your group should agree beforehand how long you will wait in situations where someone is running late.
What is car pool etiquette?
As a member of a car pool, it’s your job to do everything you can to make sure the other members of your group are comfortable. Never smoke, eat or drink in the car unless it is first agreed upon by the others in your group. Don’t assume that just because you enjoy listening to music in the morning that others do as well. And always do your part to keep the car clean and tidy. Learn more car pool etiquette.
I don’t own a car. Can I still join a car pool?
Absolutely. As you look for car pools, simply indicate that you want to be a passenger only. Remember, you will then be responsible for paying a share of the gas and other commuting expenses.
What if I have to drive my child to school or daycare?
This is a common situation among people who car pool. Find a car pool in which you can work out a suitable schedule. You may be able to make the school or daycare center your designated pick-up and/or drop-off point.
Will my insurance cover me?
Check with your insurance provider to be sure that you will be covered in the event of an accident. General liability insurance covers passengers and most policies do not exclude car poolers.
What if I’m sick?
If you’re sick and not going to work that day, notify your car pool as soon as possible. Sick days and other last-minute changes are inevitable. That’s why it’s important for car pool members to work out how these situations will be handled before they happen.
What is a van pool?
A van pool is a group of five to 15 people who commute together in a van.
How does it work?
Each van pool decides how the van pool is to be arranged. For example, often a van pool will select a primary driver and one or more alternative drivers, in case a back up is needed. In this scenario, the driver will usually ride for free. In other cases, all of the participants share the driving responsibilities. Riders also agree on how they will share expenses, where they will meet and whether there will be one or multiple pick-up locations.
Is van pooling right for me?
If you travel 15 miles or more one-way to work and have a relatively consistent schedule, van pooling might be an excellent option for you.
How much does van pooling cost?
van pool costs vary depending on the length of the commute, the number of people, parking expenses and other factors. Because you share the cost with up to 14 other people, van pooling is usually much less expensive than driving alone. van poolers are also eligible to receive special federal tax incentives for van pooling. See how much you can save.
What are the benefits of van pooling?
van pooling saves you money, helps the environment by conserving fuel and reducing emissions, helps reduce traffic congestion and offers a less-stressful commute to work. By participating in a van pool you are also eligible for the Emergency Ride Home program if you live in one of the serviced counties.
Who owns the van?
Vans are usually owned or leased by individual commuters. In some cases, employers own the vans.
Is a special driver’s license required?
No, drivers need only a regular class C automobile driver's license.
What happens if the driver is sick or on vacation?
If one person is the primary driver, the van pool should select back-up drivers in case the regular driver is not available. Be sure to have a pre-established system to communicate any changes to the schedule if necessary.
Will the van pool pick me up at my house?
Most van pools have common meeting points to reduce travel time. The pick-up and drop-off locations should be in conveniently located areas, such as park and ride locations. You will be provided the pick-up and drop-off information before you commit to join a van pool.
Is eating or smoking allowed in the van?
Each van pool has different rules determined by the riders. Rules for the van pool should always be established and agreed upon by all the participants beforehand.
What happens if I am late or not able to join the van pool on a particular date?
Riders should agree beforehand how long the van will wait for people who are late. If you are sick or unable to make the van pool on a particular day, call the driver or a first-stop passenger at the first stop ahead of time. When you go on vacation, make arrangements with your van pool driver or coordinator in advance.
What happens if I work late or have an emergency?
The Emergency Ride Home program provides free taxi services in emergency situations for registered users. Register now.
What is public transportation?
Public transportation includes all vehicle services designed to transport the public on local and regional routes. In Pennsylvania, available public transportation services include bus, rail, streetcar and ferry. Public transit runs on set routes and charges set fares.
What are the benefits of using public transportation?
Public transit offers many benefits over commuting to work alone by car:
- It’s less expensive than driving, saving users an average of about $9,167 annually. See how much you can save using public transportation.
- It’s an immediate way people can help the environment and conserve energy. Learn more about public transportation and the environment.
- It reduces traffic congestion, eliminating hours of delay in heavy traffic areas.
- It’s safer than driving.
What public transportation services are available in Pennsylvania?
There are a number of public transportation services provided conveniently throughout the state:
- Intercity Passenger Rail: Rail passenger service operated by Amtrak as part of its national passenger rail system. Includes the popular Keystone Line which runs between New York City and Harrisburg by way of Philadelphia. For a complete listing of Amtrak's services, please visit www.amtrak.com.
- Fixed-Route Bus and Rail: Bus and rail service that provides a repetitive, fixed schedule along a specific route with vehicles stopping to pick up and deliver passengers to specific locations.
- Fixed-Route Bus: Bus services that provides a repetitive, fixed schedule along a specific route with vehicles stopping to pick up and deliver passengers to specific locations.
- Intercity Passenger Bus: Passenger bus service that provides a scheduled fixed route that is considered essential links in the regional/statewide network of intercity bus services, but which cannot be financially supported solely from user fares. The following carriers participate in the State Assistance Program:
For a complete listing of services, please visit www.pabus.org.
What public transportation services are available in my area?
Public transportation providers are located in every county of Pennsylvania. To find public transportation routes, schedules and other service information for your area, use the PennDOT Map Search.
How many people use public transportation?
A recent study by the American Public Transportation Association found that public transportation use in the U.S. is at its highest rate in 50 years. In 2008 alone, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation with more Pennsylvanians using public transportation every day. Following recent track upgrades that increased the train’s top speed ridership on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor, from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, has grown more than 20 percent. And ridership on SEPTA’s commuter rail system has increased by nearly 8 percent in 2007.
How does public transportation help the environment?
Public transportation helps the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road leading to saving millions of gallons of gasoline each year. This reduces the pollutants that cause smog and global warming and the need for increasing land development for road use. Find more about public transportation’s eco-impact.
Is public transportation safe?
Trips on public transportation result in 200,000 fewer deaths, injuries and accidents than similar trips made by car. The National Safety Council estimates that riding the bus is over 170 times safer than traveling by automobile. View safety tips for riding public transit.
I’ve never used public transportation before. Will I know what to do?
After you try it a few times, you’re likely to find that public transportation is convenient and easy to use (and far less stressful than driving!). If you’re commuting by public transit for the first time, make sure you know your route and schedule beforehand and leave yourself plenty of time. See more tips for first time riders.
Is biking safe?
Just like driving a car, safety depends on following the rules of the road and embracing basic safety guidelines. Learn more about biking safety and laws.
What if it’s rainy, too hot or too cold?
Some people commute by bike every day, regardless of the weather. But it doesn't mean you have to. Even if you only ride when the weather forecast is favorable, it will still help you save money on gas, get more exercise and help the environment. Eventually you may decide to purchase rain and cold weather gear so you can commute year-round.
Won’t I sweat too much riding to work?
Many employers provide showers and changing facilities. Ask your employer what facilities are available for bicycle commuters. And remember, the more you ride your bike, the easier it will become and the less you will get over-heated.
How will I carry all my stuff?
Carrying bags and other accessories help you transport laptop computers and other business essentials safely.
Won’t I be tired when I get to work?
Exercise is a natural energy booster. Commuting by bike, you will likely arrive to work invigorated, stress free and ready to start the day. See more benefits of biking.
How can I ride my bike if I live too far away from work?
Try bicycling part of your commute and using public transportation the rest of the way. Learn more about biking and public transportation.
How can I make sure my bike doesn’t get stolen?
Ask if your employer offers a secure location to store your bike during the day. In some cases, workers who commute by bike can keep their bike in their cubicle or office space during the day. In other cases, there may be another storage area or secure parking location. If you have to keep your bike outside, make sure you use a bike lock.
What are the benefits of walking to work?
Walking doesn’t cost anything, it has many health benefits and it’s an environmentally friendly way to commute. Learn more about the benefits of walking.
How much money can I save by walking?
Many people save thousands of dollars each year in transportation costs by adopting alternative, sustainable ways to commute. To see how much money you can save by walking, view the cost savings calculator.
How can I walk to work if my commute is too far?
You may not be able to walk your entire commute, but in many cases you may be able to add walking as part of your commute. For example, you could walk to or from public transportation if it’s available in your area.
Is it safe to commute by walking?
Walking is no different than any other form of transportation in that it’s important to follow basic rules of safety and know the law. View walking safety and laws.
How does alternative transportation benefit the environment?
Alternative transportation methods like ridesharing, public transportation, biking and walking all help to reduce the number of cars on the road and in turn, reduce harmful auto emissions that pollute the air, cause global warming and affect public health. Alternative transportation is more fuel efficient than driving alone, which helps conserve our natural resources and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. The need for more highways and other forms of land development are also lessened the more people use alternative forms of transportation. Learn more about how transit benefits the environment.
How do automobile emissions affect our health?
Automobile emissions contain large amounts of hydrocarbons, a principal ingredient responsible for ground-level ozone smog. Ozone irritates the eyes, damages the lungs, causes asthma attacks and aggravates other respiratory problems. Emissions are our most widespread air pollution problem. Like other toxins, hydrocarbons also have the potential to cause cancer.
Car emissions also contain nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulates. Like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ozone as well as acid rain. Carbon monoxide reduces the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream and can be particularly dangerous to people with heart disease. Particulates, such as soot, can also cause serious health problems, especially for people with respiratory problems or heart disease.14
How do automobile emissions contribute to global warming?
Another by-product of engine combustion is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that helps to trap the earth’s heat inside the atmosphere, which is the primary cause of global warming.
What can I do?
A large part of the pollution we create as individuals is the result of personal transportation—from commuting to work to running daily errands. By reducing the amount that you drive and adopting cleaner, more energy-efficient methods of transportation, you can contribute to improving the environment and help set a positive example for others.
What is paratransit or shared ride services?
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public transit be accessible to passengers with disabilities. Paratransit often works in conjunction with fixed routes to make it easier for all passengers to use an area's public transportation system. Vans or mini-buses are typically used to provide shared-ride paratransit services. Some systems pick up passengers along a given route, while other systems offer on-demand call-up curb-to-curb service from any origin to any destination in a service area. Paratransit services are operated by public transit agencies, community groups or not-for-profit corporations, and for-profit private companies or operators.
What types of paratransit/shared ride services are available in Pennsylvania?
Public transportation agencies across the state offer paratransit services for persons with disabilities. Some public transportation agencies, like SEPTA, contract with private carriers to provide the service in different areas. Contact a public transportation provider in your area to find more about their paratransit services.
What is the Shared Ride Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities?
The Shared Ride Programs for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities are state-funded programs that enable persons with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 and senior citizens 65 years of age and older to use shared-ride, demand-responsive (normally curb-to-curb) services and pay only a small percentage of the regular shared-ride fare. Learn more about the Shared Ride Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities.
What discount programs are available for persons with disabilities?
The Persons with Disabilities Half-Fare Program allows individuals with disabilities to ride for half-fare on fixed-route transit service during non-peak periods. Many public transportation providers also often discount programs for the disabled. Learn more about programs for persons with disabilities.
Are there transportation discount programs available to assist low income families and individuals?
The Welfare to Work Program funds transportation to work and to child care facilities for members of families whose incomes are lower than the 235th percentile of the Federal Family Poverty Income Guidelines and who are therefore eligible for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
How does alternative transportation benefit business?
Alternative transportation saves businesses money by decreasing traffic congestion (which costs businesses $40 billion annually) and reducing parking expenses. There are also many tax benefits for employers and employees that use alternative transportation. In addition to money saved, alternative transportation improves employee productivity by promoting better health and creating more personal time. Learn more about the benefits of alternative transportation for employers.
What are the tax benefits to using alternative transportation?
The Federal tax code allows employers to reduce payroll taxes for qualified transit, train, van pooling and biking benefits. View tax benefits of alternative transportation.
How can employers encourage alternative transportation?
Employers can promote alternative transportation practices among employees in a variety of ways:
- Talk to employees about the benefits of alternative transportation.
- Offer cash incentives for car pooling or help subsidize a van pool. Your employees can ride with one another or use the Match & Ride tool to find car pooling partners.
- Educate employees about the Emergency Ride Home program, as some people may be reluctant to try alternative transit in case of an emergency.
- Offer preferential parking for car pools and van pools. Free parking is not free to your business, so it’s beneficial to encourage alternative modes of transportation to reduce the space needed for parking.
- Install covered parking for bikes. Consider offering showers and lockers for people who ride or walk to work.
- Offer teleworking opportunities if possible. If this works for employees and your company, it’s a great way to reduce unnecessary driving trips.
- Offer alternate work hours or flex time to help employees reduce car trips, emissions and stress, and to promote work-life balance.
What programs are available in Pennsylvania to help employers promote alternative transportation?
TransitChek® is a program administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission that enables employers to cut payroll taxes and boost their benefits package. Job Perks is a pre-tax commuter benefit provided by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Offered via employers in Allegheny County, employees can use the benefit to purchase and receive Port Authority monthly passes at work through payroll deduction. Find more information about the programs.