Thursday, September 17, 2009

Share a Ride - Earn & Save Money

TransOptions, the non-profit Transportation Management Association, is encouraging commuters to consider sharing a ride as they return to work and school commuting routines this fall. A free, computerized, rideshare matching program implemented by TransOptions helps connect travelers with others having similar commutes to northwestern New Jersey.

Commuters interested in giving up their solo ride to work, even a few days a week, complete a confidential application online at They are contacted in approximately one week to learn of potential rideshare companions.

Carpooling and vanpooling are the most popular rideshare options and offer multiple commuting benefits. Sharing a ride enables commuters to save on the cost of fuel, which lowers their commuting costs.

Carpools require a minimum of only two people who decide how many days per week to rideshare and who does the driving. By completing 24 round trips in 60 days, carpools registered with TransOptions are eligible to earn a free gas card, up to $200 for a maximum of four or more riders, from the Carpooling Makes Sense incentive program sponsored by the NJ Department of Transportation.

Vanpools are another cost-saving rideshare option, ideal for groups of five to fifteen riders with a longer commute. The group leases their van on a month-to-month basis, sharing gas, tolls and operating costs. In addition, NJ TRANSIT offers a monthly sponsorship to qualifying vanpools, further reducing their cost of commuting.

TransOptions estimates that the annual cost of a 60 mile roundtrip solo commute is approximately $8,250. A two person carpool reduces the annual estimated cost by 50% to approximately $4,125. A seven passenger vanpool further reduces annual commuting costs to approximately $2,640. (Savings are approximate, based on a five day commute per week for 50 weeks per hear, incorporating operating costs for gas and maintenance at the Internal Revenue Service allowance of $.55 per mile which includes depreciation, insurance, fuel and all other estimated costs of owning a card.)

Vehicle wear and tear are reduced along with the stress associated with a solo drive to work. The environment also benefits since fewer cars on the road improves air quality by reducing traffic congestion.

Rideshare applications can be obtained online at or by calling (973) 267-7600.

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