Carpooling Best Sampled One Day Per Week
JOHN YDSTIE, host:
Rising gas prices have boosted the interest in carpooling.
Ruth Reiman joins me now. She's the project manager for Central Indiana Commuter Services, which helps match up potential carpoolers.
Welcome to the program Ms. Reiman.
Ms. RUTH REIMAN (Project Manager, Central Indiana Commuter Services): Thank you very much. It's good to be here.
YDSTIE: So, how do you make matches? Is it a little bit like dating?
Ms. REIMAN: Pretty much, but we don't get that personal. The matches are based on where you live and where you work and what your work hours are. And there is a radius, a search radius, around your home address and around your work address, and you can set that any way you want. So people that live in more rural communities can set up a very large search radius and people that live in a more urban setting can set up a more narrow search radius. And so you, ultimately, get matched up with your neighbors.
YDSTIE: And so, do you have a checklist, such as, I don't smoke, I listen to public radio, I take a shower every day, things like that?
Ms. REIMAN: Sort of. You're on the right track. We do ask if they have a smoking preference. We ask if they have a car available, if they'd rather be a passenger or a driver. But after that it's pretty much up to all the individuals to determine whether they listen to NPR in the morning or some other punk rock station or something like that.
YDSTIE: So what are the big obstacles to carpooling?
Ms. REIMAN: The biggest one we hear about is they want to have access to their car. A lot of people are very hesitant to give up the freedom and the flexibility of having a vehicle available at all times.
How we get past that is we suggest they just try it one day a week. And so once people do try it one day a week, they find that it's not that inflexible and that it may be something they could do more than just one day a week.
The other thing that's a hesitance or an obstacle for carpooling is you have to come and go at the same time every day. So a lot of people work more flexible hours. They want the freedom to come and go more on their own schedule. So the rigidity of coming and going at the same time has been an obstacle also.
YDSTIE: What happens when you have an emergency and the guy with the car has to take off and you're stuck at the office until five o'clock and you have no way home?
Ms. REIMAN: What we offer is emergency ride home. And we had a terrible storm here and one of the buildings in downtown was damaged. And the carpool came in all the way from Bloomington, which is about 50 miles, and the driver found out that he--his building was not open because of the damage. And so he took the car and went home and left all his carpoolers stranded in Indianapolis without transportation. And they were able to use our emergency ride home, to use a taxi service to get them all the way back to Bloomington.
So we do offer that for people that have unexpected overtime or they get sick during the day or a child gets sick and they don't have transportation. We do have free cab service for that.
YDSTIE: You know, I should ask you this. How do you get to work?
Ms. REIMAN: Today, I drove. It's raining. But I do try, two days a week, to ride my bike or I take the bus and walk home. I try my darndest not to use my car. And I try not to even own a car, if I can. But, I'm afraid in the Midwest you've got to have a car.
YDSTIE: Ruth Reiman is project manager for Central Indiana Commuter Services.
Thanks very much for joining us.
Ms. REIMAN: It was a pleasure. Thank you.
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