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car pooling

What is it and how does it works?

Car pooling is a method of transport that consists of sharing a private car between a group of people. It is a way of getting around which ensures optimisation of the available resources: all seats in every car.

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WHAT IS IT?

The English term car pooling, corresponding in Italian to "group car" or "shared journey", indicates a method of transport consisting in the sharing of a car journey between a group of people. The main aim is to reduce the costs of transport for the team (the group of people travelling) and for the community. For car pooling to function, there must be a driver who is willing to travel and that makes spare seats in his car available to people who have the same travel demands: origin, destination and schedule to people who would have used their own car to make the same journey. The passengers instead of incurring the expense of their own journey using their own personal vehicle, contribute towards the travel expenses, making car pooling an economic solution both for the driver and for the passengers themselves; the reduction in the number of vehicles being driven reduces both traffic and atmosphere-polluting emissions.. The organisation of who forms the members of the team can be done via online systems, in which one's own travel schedule and one's own preferences must be indicated, and where there might be a meeting between the demand for journeys and the supply of journeys.

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

Car pooling is the sharing of a car journey by a group of people. Its operation is very simple: whoever is travelling in their car offers a lift to whoever prefers not to use his own vehicle.. Through an online system, every driver can publish his own journey plan, while whoever is looking for a lift can through the same system check whether there is any driver who might be able to meet his need for transport. In case of a match between demand and supply whoever is looking for a lift can put himself forward as a passenger and contact the driver; they then jointly decide on the terms and conditions for transport. Thus drivers offering lifts in their vehicles must simply publish their schedules on a web portal or mobile application, while the steps to be followed by a user who is looking for a lift are as follows: look for a lift through a portal or application; find the right driver for his route; agree on a meeting point and on any reimbursement; share the journey while making a saving.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The passengers contribute to the travel expenses of the driver making the car pooling an economical solution for everyone compared to when they use of their private car. There are several ways to manage payments for example a simple cash refund directly between the driver and the passengers and economic transactions carried out automatically between virtual accounts associated to the users (similar to the PayPal account).. For organisation there are several on-line platforms that are growing in size that allow the users to search for and provide rides. Most of these platforms provide the mediation service for free. Such platforms often offer the user the possibility to calculate an advised refund which is calculated on the basis of kilometers traveled together by users and any deviations that the driver must incur. Most of the platforms don't handle the automatic payment but provides users the ability to ask whether or not a refund should be issued. With car pooling the users, from an economic point of view, have the possibility to share travel costs that otherwise have to be incurred alone.

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HOW DOES THE INTEGRATION WORK?

Car pooling services besides operating as a stand-alone transport network, prove to be capable of being easily integrated into traditional transport services such as buses and trains. Central destination hubs for many users (railway stations, bus stations, employment hubs, interchange car parks, etc.) are nodes of the network that allow an interchange with other means of transport. The possibility of specifying in the search windows of fellow travellers, the latest times by which one must arrive at or depart from the interchange node, allows one to immediately identify those drivers who are able to meet the needs of whoever has to use a means of transport at pre-established times.

Advantages

The advantages of car pooling may be summarised as follows:

  • 1

    Reduction of travel costs

    The reduction of travel costs achieved through the sharing of a vehicle between several people for a transition between two common points allows the user to save in some cases more than 75% of the costs associated with a trip.

  • 2

    Benefit for the community

    The reduction of cars on the road leads directly to the traffic reduction. As consequence of the traffic reduction we have also the reduction of: travel times, emission of pollutant and a greater availability of free parking slots.

  • 3

    Social integration

    Traveling with other people allows travelers to meet and discuss. In this way the travelers are able to expand their social network.