Carpooling in Connecticut is back!

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Would you like to save thousands of dollars in car travel costs? And at the same time reduce the number of vehicles on our highways?

The answer: carpooling.

With the sudden spike in gas prices, there is a renewed interest in car/van carpooling, as people from CTrides can attest. It’s the state agency responsible for selling the idea of ​​’green commutes’, although I think it’s the green in your wallet that’s capturing the most attention from commuters these days, not just to save the environment.

But it’s true that 38% of all greenhouse gases come from transportation and with the vast majority of car commuters driving solo, ride sharing can certainly reduce Connecticut’s terrible air quality, worse in some areas than California.

Remember our clear blue skies at the start of the pandemic when no one was driving?

Census data shows that 76% of commuters drive solo, while about 8% share their ride. Public transport is only 4.5%, while telecommuting (working from home) is around 7%, but growing. In Fairfield County, the number of public transport and telecommuting is much higher considering the time and cost involved in commuting to jobs in New York. The long-term effects of working from home are not yet visible.

The folks at CTrides promote all alternatives to solo riding, ironic for a Connecticut Department of Transportation-funded agency that spends billions on our roads.

But there are many excuses for not sharing a journey:

“I like to drive my own car by myself.” Well, do you also like to pay for gas and car repairs yourself?

My work schedule is constantly changing. CTrides can connect you with others also on your ever-changing schedule.

“What if I have to go home in the middle of the day in case of an emergency?” The CDOT sponsors a Emergency return home program for registered businesses, paying up to $200 for an Uber up to four times a year.

Carpooling has many benefits aside from cost savings. Some freeways (I-91 and I-84) have diamond lanes for carpoolers. Employers often offer preferred parking spots at work.

There’s even a federal commuter tax benefit of up to $280 per month for employees registered in companies. Speak to your company’s human resources department for more details.

Are you still hesitating to share your journey? Thousands of people do it daily on commuter trains with up to 100 passengers in a single (railway) car: carpooling on steroids!

Employers find that carpooling often increases employee morale and retention, even if your team isn’t participating in comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke.”

CTrides also promotes the use of trains and buses as well as telecommuting… everything to take single-passenger vehicles out of circulation. They are optimistic that rising gas costs will encourage more commuters to carpool.

To sweeten the pot even more, CTrides offers a rewards program. Just download their app, create an account and register your “green journeys”. Accumulate enough points and you earn restaurant discounts and discounted tickets to shows and attractions. Participants save money and the environment.

Jim Cameron is the founder of the Commuter Action Group, Connecticut Rail Passenger Advocates. Contact Jim at [email protected].

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