With the cost of gas at more than a dollar a litre, there’s more incentive for people to use alternative ways to get around. This is especially true for Sun Peaks employees who commute daily from Kamloops, some of whom have discovered the benefits of carpooling.
Financial benefit is the most common, as driving about an hour each way does take a huge chunk out of a person’s wallet.
Tourism Sun Peaks’ (TSP) Regional Sales Manager Ron Betts said that by carpooling with co-workers, he’s able cut his gas costs. “I know with my own vehicle, if I were to drive my own car everyday, I’d be looking at between $80 and $100 a week for gas. By carpooling, I can divide that by four, around $25 to $30 per week.” Carpooling also reduces the wear and tear on a vehicle, he added.
Betts carpools with four other individuals who work at the resort, three of them from the same office. The five of them live in Kamloops and have decided to have one driver for each day of the week.
Apart from the obvious gas savings and environmental benefits, sharing a ride is also a great way to bond and get to know your co-workers better, said TSP’s Resort Experience Manager Jen Barter.
“We get to know each other on a personal level and also on work-level as well. In the morning when you’re driving to work, everybody’s kind of able to gear each other up for work everyday and talk about whatever happened the night before or on the weekend,” explained Barter. “And then, when you’re leaving from work, it’s really nice as well because you can all kind of help de-stress each other and talk about fun things happening outside of work and get to know each other outside of work.”
Having this kind of healthy relationship also means co-workers are able to support each other better in a work environment. “If you know someone’s had a rough night or not feeling 100 per cent or is overwhelmed in their personal life, it might give you an insight on how they are at the office,” Betts said, adding that this bit of knowledge means colleagues can offer each other help when needed.
Finding individuals to carpool with is easy if they’re your co-workers. For others who are just starting out, there are websites like www.carpool.ca, a Canada-wide, B.C.-based carpooling website serving 350 clients in Kamloops and 20 in Sun Peaks.
It’s best to start small, said Anne Marie Thornton, manager of www.carpool.ca. “A lot of people are under the impression that they have to carpool everyday and that’s not the case. A couple of times a week or maybe once a week (is perfectly acceptable),” she said, adding that we can achieve a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions if everybody pledged to carpool once a week.
Carpooling is a great way to meet a new friend who lives in the same city. However, it helps to meet with the person first prior to carpooling with a stranger for the first time, she said. Once people find an ideal group to carpool with, they typically stay for a long time, said Thornton. On the average, Thornton’s clients stay with their group between one to three years.
To ensure your carpool group enjoys many fun rides together, here are a few carpooling etiquettes. “I think juggling people’s schedules, working it out so people are cognizant of everybody else’s schedules and trying to have people who are on a similar schedule is very important,” said Betts. If you work together, it’s advisable to keep conversation topics outside of work.
“Showing up on time is definitely number one because you don’t want other people to be late; it’s not just yourself that you’re responsible for. Another thing is driving safely and adhering to the speed limit,” said Barter. Preferences in music can always be discussed, she added. “And switching who gets to sit in the front seat.”