Carpooling offers relief for spiralling cost of driving in GTHA

TORONTO (February 7, 2011) –  February 7 – 11 is Carpool Week and once again, commuters surveyed by Smart Commute are citing cost savings as the number one reason they are sharing the ride to work. Forty-four per cent of those surveyed recently said they carpooled to save money, while 27 per cent said their interest in “improving the environment” was their top reason.

During Carpool Week in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Smart Commute invites commuters to visit its website, smartcommute.ca, to register for the free Carpool Zone ride-matching service. Those who aren’t convinced of the economic benefits can calculate how much money they can save by carpooling using the Savings Calculator available online. For example, two people sharing a 50 km (return) commute five days a week will each save as much as $50 on gasoline alone in one month (based on gas price of $1.10/litre). The total savings achieved by carpoolers registered with Smart Commute last year was $7.2 million.

“People are looking for ways to deal with rising fuel costs, so using our free Carpool Zone ride-matching service to find someone to share the ride and split the cost is a great place to start,” said Ryan Lanyon, Manager, Smart Commute. “With a carpooling program in place, local employers can also save money by reducing the costs associated with providing staff parking. It’s a win-win situation.”

Raj Sreenivasan carpools every day with three of his workmates, from Richmond Hill to the Wal-Mart head office in Mississauga, and says there are many benefits. For example, his group saves more than $3,000 each on road tolls alone in a year. “In winter, the reserved parking spot for our group is especially appreciated,” he said. “Since we take turns driving, I only have to drive five days each month.”

Kevin Reel explains why he started carpooling from Toronto’s Danforth area to his job at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. “I’ve always had a strong environmental conviction that car use must be minimized. I was thus in constant conflict with that ethic when I needed to use a car to get to work. The carpool has helped address this conflict, and made my commute, and work-life balance, more enjoyable.”

Smart Commute is an initiative of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that works with employers to improve commuting options for their employees. To date, more than 150 employers with 350,000 commuters have signed on to the program.

For more information about carpooling in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Carpool Week, and to sign up for Carpool Zone, visit www.smartcommute.ca.

For further information:

Media Inquiries – Vanessa Thomas, (416) 874-5974 or Malon Edwards, (416) 874-5945

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About Smart Commute
Commuter benefits program for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

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