There are lots of reasons why kids might not take the bus to school. Some don't have a choice: There just isn't a bus route in their area. Other parents are simply not ready to have their young children ride the bus: They'd rather drive their kids to school.
A great way to save time and gas money is to set up a carpool with neighborhood families. Sharing the driving responsibilities can provide some relief from constantly having to cart the kids to and from school, soccer practice, dentist appointments, etc. Here's how to do it...
First, a few pros and cons to help you decide whether carpooling is the right choice for your family:
- Save money on gas and vehicle maintenance.
- Less traffic congestion.
- Lower levels of air pollution.
- Complications if a carpool member is running late.
- Lack of privacy.
- Safety concerns (Some moms worry about their kids riding in other parents' cars).
If you do decide to organize a carpool, here's how to do it:
- Identify 2-3 families to include in your carpool. Ask your child's school or use social networks like your kids' clubs, activities, sports teams, PTAs, or volunteer groups to find neighborhood families. Keep in mind that you should include only people in your neighborhood; otherwise, you will have to go out of your way.
- Work out a schedule. Divide The Ride is a great Web resource to help you arrange the schedule, and it also sends out e-mail and cell phone reminders to help keep parents on top of their driving responsibilities.
- Give advance notice for cancellations. Have a back-up plan in case someone has to cancel.
- Agree on rules and safety precautions. Everyone must wear a seat belt. No extra errands with carpool kids in the car. Only the designated driver can pick up kids. No cell phone use while driving, etc.
Do you rely on a carpool to get your kids to school and other activities? Has it been a good or bad experience?