Start a Kids Car Pool That Saves Time and Money

For back-to-school time, check out these tips for creating a group, discussing ground rules and exploring apps to get the wheels rolling.

Children about to get into a vehicle. Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

As families settle into their new school-year routines, figuring out transportation schedules can be challenging. Some children may be attending new schools or participating in extracurricular activities, and some may simply live outside the area served by the bus routes. Then there’s the reality of rising gas prices, busy work schedules and traffic congestion. One way to help solve these logistical challenges is carpooling.

Carpooling frees up your time, saves you money on gas, mitigates vehicle wear and tear, and provides a great way for you and your children to meet new people. Here are a few tips from parenting website Tinybeans for creating a well-functioning car pool.

First, start with families you already know. Families who live close to you and have kids in your school or in the same extracurricular activities can be your first recruits.

Second, share the carpool idea, and if they aren't interested in participating, they may refer you to someone who is.

Chalkboard Infographic iStock

Next, host a meeting to confirm everyone’s interest and talk about the details.

Multiple sources recommend that you should cover the following topics:

  • Commit to getting the children to their schools or activities on time.
  • Make sure each vehicle has the capacity to hold the number of children being transported.
  • Discuss a driving rotation, noting parents’ preferences and availability.
  • Establish car safety rules, such as making sure car seats are properly installed and used (if applicable).
  • Ensure all drivers and passengers always wear safety belts.
  • Pledge to obey all safety laws, including not texting while driving.
  • Agree to keep the lines of communication open.

Finally, you should go over the type of car insurance coverage everyone needs to have. Car Insurance Comparison recommends that all drivers carry enough car insurance to cover bodily injuries to passengers in the event they’re involved in an accident. If someone drives a car they don’t own, they should purchase a non-owner car insurance policy that also covers bodily injuries for passengers.

It’s also important to discuss umbrella insurance, which offers additional liability coverage and protects drivers from losing their assets if a lawsuit judgment is made against them.

The insurance discussion is also a good time to bring up the need for 24-hour roadside assistance—just in case there’s a flat tire or a dead battery. (A basic AAA Membership includes this service.)

Stay organized with an app.

Once your car pool is established, it’s vital to keep the lines of communication open among parents. There are several free apps that are designed to help your group do just that:

  • Karpoolclub: Car pools can be public or private, and people can join a group that’s already established. Each carpool ride also can be tracked by parents.
  • GoKid: Car pools are invitation-only. This planning app allows groups to share a schedule and provide automatic reminders to everyone. It plots the optimal route for each driver and has an in-app chat function so everyone can communicate through notes and messages.
  • Carpool-Kids: Once the car pool is created, participating families are invited to join. The schedule syncs with iOS Calendar or Android’s Google Calendar. The app uses push notifications and emails to update everyone in the car pool.

Carpooling can be a productive, efficient and fun way to get your kids where they need to be. Keep everyone involved in the process, and ensure the group has the right insurance coverage for peace of mind.

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