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Ride-Share Week: Carolyn’s real-life ridesharing story

Carolyn Reitzel, using another transportation alternative!

For this year’s Ride-Share Week, Carolyn Reitzel has kindly agreed to share her ridesharing experience with everyone!

Hopefully this will help you get an idea of what ridesharing is all about, and how people do it in practical reality.

Carolyn does a casual rideshare from Langley to SFU Burnaby, and here’s a bit about her experience.

Tell me about your current ridesharing trip. Where do you go? Who do you ride with?

My current rideshare is with a person who doesn’t have a vehicle. She catches a ride home with me because she doesn’t start at the same time. We have an agreeable price, which is the equivalent of bus fare for each trip. Normally we drive home Monday to Friday, unless one of us is ill or indisposed.

Where did you meet?

We connected partly through Jack Bell Rideshare, but also through the SFU rideshare website on one of the SFU community pages. I was registered with both and that’s where we met. My rideshare partner used to use the vanpool but it got too expensive and the trip began to take too long.

How did you decide to pair up?

It was mostly based on the fact that we live relatively close to each other. She found the commute was too expensive and too long to do alone—it’s 1.5 hours a day each way. It helps to subsidize the cost of gas. My first rideshare last year was with someone living in Langley City, and we took turns driving. It was half the cost, since I only used my car half the time and our parking costs were shared.

Some people find it daunting to get started—they worry about meeting strangers, etc. How did you feel when you started? Were there any challenges? How did you handle them?

I signed up with Jack Bell when I moved to Langley four years ago. It took over a year to find my first rideshare partner. For first time users, I’d recommend being really specific when you sign up about where you’re travelling to and from. Be very specific about times – within 15 minutes of your specified times. And be very clear about your expectations: for example, you want to share the cost of parking and the cost of gas, or take each other’s vehicle in alternating weeks.

In my first rideshare posting, I wasn’t very specific about my requests, and I received email requests from people not looking to share costs or driving, or wanting to travel at very different times. Also, my first experience included e-mail requests from people who seemed to think ridesharing was like a free taxi. More than once I’ve talked to someone who wanted to ride in and have you pay for everything—they think they’ll just catch a ride in with you. When you meet with someone who understands the significance of the savings and the travel time, they realize carpooling costs a lot less.

After I connect with someone about ridesharing, I always request we meet in a public place first., It’s easier to explain travel routes, times and negotiate costs in person.

Is there anything else about ridesharing that you would like to add?

Cost savings is one of the key motivators for ridesharing. And being able to use the HOV lanes when you’re returning on Highway 1 eastbound. You get to travel faster: stop and go traffic is never fun.. Ridesharing helps—it’s much less stressful to travel.

I really like ridesharing. I know it’s hard to try and reduce traffic on the roads by encouraging it, especially since people start work at many different times and have to travel to many different places. But it’s possible if you work in a large centre, like Metrotown. It can be worthwhile to rideshare and fun! It’s probably the best alternative where there currently isn’t any transit. If it was something that was advertised more, with the positive aspects highlighted there might be more people willing to try it. The more people you’ve got sharing, the more people you’ve got to share their experiences and vehicle trips.

Thanks Carolyn!

And if you’re looking for more real-world examples of ridesharing, make sure to check out Jen’s ridesharing story from Ride-Share Week last year!


3 Comments

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, October 20, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    Thanks, Carolyn Reitzel, and Jhenifer.

    This was a great interview. I have never fully considered ride sharing.

    I think that I’ll give it a try. It could save me tons of time. I only realize it, now that I am starting to ask people for rides to SkyTrain.

    I also find that when I’m specific about my needs, then I can get where I’m going faster.

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