What's Happening in the Area

Carpool Promotion Eases Pain at the Pump

As gas prices rise, a local non-profit organization is helping weary commuters ease their "pain at the pump" by launching a carpool incentive program called "It Pays to Carpool." TransOptions, the Transportation Management Association for northwestern New Jersey, is incenting commuters to try sharing a ride by offering the chance to win a $100 gas card. TransOptions is also educating commuters about the "quality of life benefits" of carpooling, dispelling common myths to overcome objections and offering a free Ridematch Application to find a carpool companion.

Northwestern New Jersey commuters who join or start a carpool and complete 12 rides from March 1 to May 18, 2012, are eligible for a drawing to win one of three $100 gas card prizes. Participation in the incentive program is free; carpools just need to register and submit a tracking log to be eligible. Winners will be picked in a drawing during the last week in May 2012.

"Most commuters are reluctant to give up their solo ride to work," comments John F. Ciaffone, TransOptions President. "We're giving them a reason to try carpooling with hope that they’ll continue. We're also addressing the objections that we hear to sharing a ride; only two people are needed to be a carpool and they decide how many days per week to ride together. Registered carpoolers also qualify for our Emergency Ride Home program so there a safety net," he adds.

Rising gas prices may motivate commuters to consider sharing a ride. Gas prices have increased 9 percent from a year ago to $3.30 a gallon as of January 13, 2012 according to a survey by AAA Mid-Atlantic. Other costs are creeping upward, too. Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway have risen 50 percent, heating oil has increased and food prices are expected to follow the upward trend.

Carpooling is a fast, easy way for commuters to instantly lower the cost of their ride to work by. In addition, commuters can save vehicle wear and tear, lower stress and reduce traffic congestion which puts less pollution into the air.

Commuting expenses are significantly reduced by each day of carpooling. Savings also grow as the number of riders increase:

Commute Option

Commute Miles

Annual Estimated Cost

Estimated Savings

Drive Alone




Carpool with  2 People



$4,162 or 50%

Carpool with 3 People



$5,494 or 66%

Savings are approximate, based on a 5-day commute/week, incorporating operating costs for gas and maintenance at the Internal Revenue Service allowance of $.555/mile which includes depreciation, insurance, fuel and all other estimated costs of owning a car.

TransOptions offers additional, free incentives to carpool:

FREE Emergency Ride Home

Carpoolers registered with TransOptions are eligible to receive a free, ride home, up to two times per calendar year, should an emergency or unscheduled overtime arise.  Some rules apply.

FREE Carpool Companion Service

TransOptions free "Ridematch" service helps commuters find others with a similar schedule and route to work.  Commuters can call TransOptions at 973-267-7600 or complete a Ridematch Application. We’ll check for compatible commuters and connect you.

If you’re riding to work with a neighbor, friend or spouse, you’re already carpooling!  Be certain to register your existing carpool with TransOptions to be eligible to receive an Emergency Ride Home. 

Start saving on your commute and register for "It Pays to Carpool."

For more information, contact Danielle Scassera at (973) 267-7600 or send her an email here.