Carpooling with a spouse, friend or co-worker is a great alternative to driving alone. Carpooling is the one of the most flexible and convenient ways to share the ride. Not only do you have someone to chat with during the drive, you can save money by sharing the cost of gas.

Don't know anyone you can carpool with? No problem. Follow these easy steps to get you going. They cover everything you need to know to get your carpool up and running.

Step 1. Finding a carpool partner

Here are a few tips to find a carpool partner. You can contact co-workers and neighbors. Post a Carpool Wanted Flyer in high traffic areas at your worksite. Click here to download the flyer. Talk to your Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) or Human Resource Department at work. They can help get the word out that you are interested in carpooling.

Step 2. Who's got the wheel?

After you find a carpool partner, you need to decode who's going to drive and when. If everyone takes turns driving, determine if you want to alternate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If there are more than two of you in your carpool, designate a back-up driver in case someone's unable to drive during their rotation. (Attention drivers: be sure your insurance is up-to-date!) Then, do a schedule and make sure every member of your carpool gets a copy.

Next, talk to the people in your carpool to determine where to meet. Decide whether you prefer door-to-door service or meeting at one central location, such as a park-and-ride lot. Establish your morning and evening pick up times. Then plan your route!

Step 3. Make sure what's fare is fair.

If each person in the carpool takes a turn at driving, then there's no need to charge. If only one person drives, however, you'll want to charge each rider a reasonable fare. Here's one way to do it:

  • Carpool roundtrip mileage X Cost per mile / Number of carpoolers = Daily Fare per Rider

    Operating costs average about 61 cents** for an average sedan per mile for gas, oil, maintenance and tires. This does not include ownership costs such as insurance, licensing and depreciation. **Source: AAA, "Your Driving Costs," 2013 edition.

    You may also want to include any parking costs you might have.

Step 4. Whose idea was it to bring the yodeling tape?

The best way to keep your carpool running smoothly is by working out some carpool rules in advance. Decide how to handle issues like smoking, eating and drinking in the car, radio playing, waiting times for riders, seating arrangements, car maintenance (a clean car is a happy car), and driving rotation. You may even want to talk about talking in the car. Some people enjoy it, others don't -- especially in traffic. Agree on how to handle vacations and bad weather. And don't forget to give everyone a list with each carpooler's home and work phone numbers, in case of illness or emergency.

Other Benefits. Give your carpool a lift with these extras

Remember, many employers offer preferential or discounted parking for carpoolers. In addition, a guaranteed ride home program is available through some employers. Check with your Employee Transportation Coordinator to see if you are eligible for these benefits.

Carpooling to work is a great decision! It's the smart way to share your ride and your expenses. It's also a great way to help eliminate traffic congestion, air pollution, and even a few gray hairs all from the comfort of your own car.