Save Money on Trips with Car Pooling

Written by Karen Bryan

The Carpooling.co.uk site allows you share rides, which means you’re likely to spend less than using public transport or save money on running a car. It can also be a great way to meet people.

It’s free to become a basic member of carpooling.co.uk . so I registered on the site to have a look around. I did a search for lifts departing from Edinburgh over the next couple of months and found a fairly regular offer of a ride to Faro in Portugal via the Plymouth to Santander ferry. There were also some rides on offer to Walton on Thames, Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham. Obviously if you live in a major city your chances of bagging a lift are increased.  You can also search for lifts throughout Europe.

If you have a car and would like to offer a lift, you just need to enter your trip details and see if there are any takers.

There’s an online calculator to work out how much passengers should contribute to the journey costs. I thought that the suggested amount was too low, e.g. £6 for 100 miles which works out at 6p per mile, for us to bother trying to find a passenger for the financial benefit unless we were planning a really long trip.

In summary, you’d have to be prettty flexible with dates of travel to increase your chances of finding a lift on the carpooling site.  As a driver, I don’t think I’d put myself out to deviate from my route to do a pick up or drop off for the extra money I’d gain. I’d also wonder what it’d be like to be in a car with someone you didn’t hit it off with for several hours, or if you thought their driving was dangerous. I also wondered about insurance implications for drivers if a passenger is paying for travel in your car; I wouldn’t risk doing it unless I’d checked it out first with my car insurance company.

Carpooling’s Response

Carpooling.co.uk contacted me to answer some of my issues raised in my article.

They have an offer for free sign up to become a premium member running until the end of 2012 in the UK.

They said they have a rating system to address the issue of driver and passenger security. However there is still going to be the a first time for both driver and passenger.

Carpooling.co.uk also provided a link about my query on car insurance when accepting cash contributions to journey costs.  I’d probably still check with my insurance company.