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Carpooling in New Zealand

Traffic in our cities is diabolical in rush hour so it makes sense to carpool if possible to help reduce congestion levels.

What is carpooling?

Carpooling (also called ride sharing, car sharing or lift sharing) is when you prearrange to share a ride with one or more other people to a similar destination and there’s no formal payment made for the driver’s time. You might contribute some expenses, such as petrol or parking, but you are simply taking advantage of the fact that the driver is heading in the same direction as you. However, it is not hitchhiking. Hitchhiking is not prearranged and you won’t know the person you are sharing the ride with because it relies on someone stopping for you.

A driver cannot legally charge you for the ride (unless they have a passenger service licence) but if you ride with them on a regular basis you may have an informal agreement on contributions towards expenses, particularly if they have to go out of their way to either pick you up or drop you off. Make sure you agree any costs upfront so it doesn’t get awkward.

Carpooling means you will get to your destination quicker because you can use T2 and/or T3 lanes.

How do you carpool in New Zealand?

Websites and apps

There are a number of ride sharing and carpooling website that make it easy to find people heading in the same direction as you, such as Jayride, Coseats, Smart Travel Auckland and Catlins and South Otago carpool.

Informal networks

Social groups and community groups frequently do carpooling.

Work carpool

Ask if your workplace has a carpool system. Help set one up if it doesn’t. Encourage your workplace to offer priority parking to people arriving with two or more staff members.

Student carpool

Some universities and colleges run carpool schemes such as University of Waikato’s RideLink.

How do you set up a carpool?

NZTA has a guide to setting up a carpool.

What are the risks of carpooling?

If your ride isn’t available then you will need a contingency plan. You will have to be ready at the same time as your driver, so carpooling suits people with regular work hours. Don’t let relationships get awkward – a driver or passenger shouldn’t make unwanted advances. If you are a person with a car offering someone a lift and you find out you don’t like them, it’s difficult to justify not giving them a lift and this can cause awkwardness in the workplace.

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Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Posted in Advice
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