May 1st, 2012
American commuters these days have numerous incentives to carpool. From a financial perspective, the rising cost of gas (expected in many places to set record highs this summer) makes cutting that expense an extremely expensive one. From an efficient perspective, the use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in numerous metropolitan areas makes the carpool commute a routinely shorter one. And, from the perspective of lifestyle and wellness, a joint commute has been shown to equate with lower stress levels among participants.
So someone who commutes in a major metro area has few reasons to forgo the carpool option. But there’s just one problem: many people don’t know anyone who has a similar daily commute that they do. Neighbors often work in different places. Co-workers often hail from different suburbs. People commute at different times of the day. Instead of going through the hassle of finding a carpool, many workers instead opt to buy a executive leather office chair and telecommute some days from home.
One new business hopes to solve this problem by matching commuters of similar locations and schedules. SF Casual Carpool, which is currently focused on the San Francisco Bay Area, provides designated meeting spots where people can congregate in the morning, join together in cars, and head for a central Downtown location. Then the reverse process occurs in the afternoon. SF Casual Carpool hopes to continue expanding its meetup and dropoff points over the next couple years.
While there are already online carpool finders out there, such as eRide Share, this new enterprise attempts to solve one of the central problems that plague the others: all too often, people put out a specific request and never find a match. The process, then, becomes a protracted rather than a streamlined one. With set pickup spots, SF Casual Carpool promises a convenience and a reliability that no other service can offer.
The service also promises to serve as a potentially-lucrative business idea. It already contains several advertising possibilities, and as interest grows we can only expect that membership requirements will be implemented, as well.
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