Flexible Carpooling Urged


The ARC was today urged to make flexible carpooling part of the Auckland transport system.

The system works in places like San Francisco, where every day, about 6,000 people get carpool rides that were not pre-arranged.  All these carpools have three people in them.

It is like there is a taxi stand for carpoolers. People line up, and cars drive up. (Sometimes cars line up, and people walk up). The front people get into the front car (always two riders plus the driver) and they depart for the predetermined destination - predetermined by the details of the pick-up point.

This is how it works:

Paul Minett, Co-founder and CEO of Trip Convergence Ltd made a presentation to the ARC transport and urban development committee about what they see as options in Auckland

He estimated that there was in excess of 1.2m empty seats in cars being driven to workplaces in Auckland every day.

He urged research to test demand could be done here in places like:

  • established communities (Dominion Rd, North Shore City, Remuera Rd, Tamaki Drive)
  • growing communities (Snells beach / Warkworth, Helensville/Kumeu)
  • new communities (Flat Bush)

The committee recommended that ARTA and the forthcoming Auckland Transport body give consideration to implementing a range of flexible car pool trials in both new growth and existing areas.




  1. Brent C says:

    Companies can get tax breaks if they remove their back seats and only use the front two.

    So if 3 people need to get transported, it takes two cars. I guess our government could lead the way and chance the way it works the books

  2. Matt L says:

    Personally I can’t see this really taking off in a big way.

  3. Nick R says:

    Oh yes, Mr Trip Convergence pestering the council again.

    Personally I just can’t see carpooling of this type ever being much use. Where is the target market? Surely people who live and or work together are better placed to organise carpooling privately, while those who are happy to take group transport from a prearranged stop to a central location would be happy to take a bus! To me this just seems an inefficient and complicated way to duplicate the park and ride concept.

    At the end of the day they are trying to turn private travel into public transport. Why force a square peg through a round hole when you can just get more round pegs?

  4. Nice to see the naysayers out in force. To reply or not to reply, that is the question. So in I dive:

    Brent: Tax breaks might encourage removal of seats, but I see most cars still have four.

    Matt: Every solution doesn’t work for everyone. That doesn’t mean it could not work for some people who are different to you. If nothing got made unless everyone wanted it, we would not have the rich diversity of choices out there in product land that we do have. So why not a choice that makes it easier to share rides?

    Nick: The whole idea is that people who do not live together and work together, but share the road for a large part of the trip, could go to the meeting place and share the costs and environmental impacts of the part of the trip that they have in common. This is a whole target market that is being ignored.

    My overall response is that if we don’t like traffic congestion at its current and growing level, we need to figure out how to get people out of single occupant vehicles. There is a shortage of money for building more roads, and for putting on more buses, so I am suggesting we try some new ideas.

    Forgive me if this seems like I am pestering the council. I don’t see a viable alternative approach given that the council are the ones who make the decisions about policy for improving transportation in our great city (at least for a couple more months).


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