I was pleased to hear the news my friend Omar accepted a job at my office. He had worked there before and it was nice to have someone to go out to lunch with regularly, not to mention a non-work friend. Not too long after he started we talked about carpooling.
After all, Omar's apartment is about 100 feet from mine and our office across town requires a fourteen mile daily round trip. It seemed vacuous both economically and environmentally to do this journey separately, especially when we would sometimes find ourselves driving side by side down the road. And thus it became so on a Wednesday in October 2007.
Two or three weeks after we started carpooling to work, I received word through the City of Tallahassee e-mail newsletter of the upcoming Commuter Choices Week. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of alternate forms of transportation and encourage local residents to find a green way to work.
In addition to press conferences, lunches and rallies, the week featured several themed events including Ride Your Bike Day, Carpooling Day and StarMetro Ride Free Day. Carpooling Day was the Wednesday event so Omar and I were amused at the irony, but the Ride Free Day captured my interest as well.
I figured a one day trial of the local bus system might be educational so I decided to see what it would involve. The 80x Express Route went into service in August 2006 and has a stop near my building. There are several ways from home to the closest 80x transfer at the main bus station, C.K. Steele Plaza in downtown Tallahassee, but after reviewing the various routes and times I found no way to get to work by 0700.
Carpooling is a far more viable solution for Omar and me anyway, granting us the opportunity to make detour trips when needed and to have at least one car on hand during the day for lunch and unforeseen circumstances such as illness or an emergency.
Looking back on the three months carpooling thus far, I can easily conclude this experiment a success.
Photo Credit: David July