If you live in the Bay Area and like to conserve resources (like, say, money and oil), perhaps ride sharing should be added to your list of transportation options. A free service called 511 Rideshare can help passengers and drivers find each other for daily commutes. The website can also help you find vanpool information, which is like carpooling on on steroids. Actually, considering the negative association steroids have these days, I'll say it's more like carpooling on a healthy vegan diet: strong and good for the earth.

If you use 511 Rideshare (which is funded by a bunch of government agencies; see the full list in the release after the break) you not only have someone to split costs with, but you can also then cross toll bridges in the Bay Area for free during your commute. The website will help you figure out just how much money you'll save on tolls and gas and everything with its Commute Calculator.

Have any AutoblogGreen readers tried this service? If so, how well would you say it works?

[Source: 511 Rideshare]


Ridesharing Reduces Sting of Rising Oil Prices

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- As oil prices top $100 per barrel and signal another round of at-the-pump price hikes, the New Year gives Bay Area consumers a sobering reason to consider carpooling or vanpooling to work. Immediate savings come from a reduced gasoline bill and free bridge tolls. 511 Rideshare offers Bay Area commuters a free RideMatch service. Commuters can visit the Rideshare Web site at 511.org and click "Rideshare" to obtain a list of travelers seeking carpool partners who live and work nearby. Additionally, people interested in starting or joining a vanpool can find information on the site.

511 Rideshare's online Commute Calculator can provide an estimate of commuting costs. Visitors to the site simply enter the mileage to and from work, price of gas, miles per gallon for their vehicle and other details. The calculator will provide a daily, monthly and annual commute cost and carpool savings comparison.

Long-time carpooler David Rolley, who travels weekdays from his home in Suisun City to work in Contra Costa, enjoys the benefits and encourages others to rideshare. "By splitting the cost of gas and free bridge tolls, my commute costs are dramatically reduced. This saves me money that I can use on other household expenses," says Rolley. "We are all good friends and it is one of the highlights of my day," he adds.

Ridesharing can also make a long commute interesting and enjoyable. Lola Ferguson, a seasoned vanpool driver, enthusiastically shares her cost-saving experience. "I've been in a vanpool for many years, and I've saved a lot of money and a lot of time." Ferguson belongs to a vanpool that drives from Fairfield to Richmond in which all participants work for the same employer. "We really have a great time sharing amusing stories about our family and friends," adds Ferguson.

About 511 Rideshare:

With an expanding RideMatch service database of more than 14,000 San Francisco Bay Area people, 511 Rideshare helps commuters find other drivers to carpool or vanpool together. 511 Rideshare also advises and assists Bay Area companies in planning and formulating customized employer-organized commute programs. Its mission is to reduce traffic congestion, clean the air, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

511 Rideshare is a free Web/phone service funded by the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and county congestion management agencies. Qualifying carpools can cross Bay Area toll bridges free of charge during commute hours. For more information, visit rideshare.511.org.

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