Carpooling - Term Overview

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Carpooling consists of traveling several people in the same vehicle to the same destination. What is known as car sharing. The purpose is to avoid the use of several vehicles for the same journey.

Not to be confused with car sharing (carsharing). Next, we explain its operation, the characteristics and the difference with the practice of carpooling.

Carpooling operation

To explain how carpooling works, we distinguish two agents involved:

Driver: Person who owns the car he drives. Passengers: Travelers who go in the car.

The carpooling mechanism is very simple:

A person wants to make a trip and is looking for a driver who will make the same trip with his vehicle. You can do it in two ways:

- The traditional method: Enter your circle of contacts such as friends, family or colleagues and who are willing to take you. With this method, the passengers and the driver self-manage the expenses to share. The most typical example is found among colleagues who share a car to go to their workplace and organize to drive it every day.
- The technological method: Through the use of a digital platform (APP) where unknown drivers publish the routes they are going to take and are willing to carry more passengers.

Once they have found the trip they need, the date, time and other details of the trip are agreed with the driver through the APP.

When the journey is over, payment is made to the driver through the APP and the latter receives a commission per trip. It can be valued, both the driver and the passengers.

Advantages and disadvantages of carpooling

Among the advantages of carpooling we find:

- Saving fuel, toll costs or parking for passengers.
- It reduces traffic, reduces the number of accidents, makes it easier to find parking and ultimately saves time in circulation.
- It reduces CO2 emissions, which is why it's a very positive measure environmentally and specially in large cities.
- It favors social relations between passengers and the driver.

The disadvantages of carpooling are very few, among them are:

- Having less independence when it comes to adjusting the schedules or the route since this forces to maintain a commitment with the passengers. Both depend on the punctuality of the others and their good management to reach their destinations.
- Insecurity when sharing a car with strangers, specially in certain countries where citizen insecurity is greater in every way, this is an added danger.

Differences between carpooling and carsharing

Sometimes we can see the use of the expressions carpooling and carsharing in a similar way, but the main differences lie in:

Carpooling that requires a digital platform to put the driver and passengers in contact, who are usually strangers to each other, while in carsharing you can drive the rented car alone without having to share it with other passengers.

In carpooling the driver is the owner of the car and in carsharing not, the property belongs to the company that facilitates it.

With carsharing you are doing business, while with carpooling you simply share your vehicle at a private level and there is no obligation to charge for it, only if you do it through the APP.

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