But really, the idea is not stupid at all. Let’s break it down: millions of people drive alone in their cars everyday. The funny thing is that many of them drive into the exact same direction. Shouldn’t it be possible to coordinate it somehow and share the ride?
It is. Carpooling.com has become the biggest platform for exchanging rides in Europe. It is connected to the German Mitfahrgelegenheit, a term which has revolutionized the way people travel in and around Germany. It’s simple: you go online, you enter the trip you would like to make and it tells you who will be going the same way and has a car. Now it’s up to you to contact that person and arrange a meeting point and off you go. Whatever the trip costs on gas and road taxes will be split amongst the car occupants – so the more the merrier.
Ok, the truth is lift-sharing is not a German invention even if it might be wider spread there. You can find a whole list of carpooling software and pages on the American continent as well. eRideShare.com for example gives a nice list of why to carpool:
- Gas is really expensive.
- Wear & tear costs more than gas.
- Driving is stressful.
- Socializing is good for you.
- Oil imports cause trade deficits.
- The planet is on fire.
- It helps you, it helps someone else.
In short: it’s a win-win-win situation for you, for the other drivers/guests and for the environment. Personally I have only made great experiences so far. It always includes these random and special encounters you make while traveling and those surprisingly good talks. Ask any of your German friends, they will have Mitfahrgelegenheits stories to tell. Like the one of my old flatmate, who is now married to a guy she shared a ride with. So carpooling might be more than saving the planet… it might change your life!
If you’d like to become a carpooler but don’t know how to start the Mother Nature Network has just what you need: a guide on how to start a carpool. If you are worried about security issues, you can check this list of precautions on greenlivingtips.com.
I know, lift-sharing is not a new idea. But tell me the truth, have you ever actually done it? Maybe it’s time to give it a try.
Picture by Bob Elderberry, merci!