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Should People in Kitchener Waterloo Carpool?

by Daniel Gloade on December 22, 2015

Several residents of Kitchener-Waterloo work in Toronto or London.  Kitchener-Waterloo employs many “out-of-towners” as well.  Either way, they have to contend with rush hour traffic.

All cities have to deal with this problem.  They can either build more roads or fund more public transit. Either way there is a large capital cost upfront.

Perhaps the better way is for cities to pay people to carpool.

The ingredients are already assembled.  First, Toronto is creating high-occupancy lanes.  Second, there are computer programs so that carpoolers can communicate with each other.  They can create algorithms to discover the most efficient group of passengers and destinations. Currently, the Region of Waterloo suggests the website found here:There is also a large parking area so that carpoolers in Kitchener Waterloo can meet in one place and park their cars. The nearest MTO Carpool lot in Kitchener-Waterloo is on the west side of Homer Watson Blvd./Fountain St. South, just south of Hwy 401.  Finally, almost everyone has a cellphone with a G.P.S. on it.  With the proper App, it will be easy for a city to prove that someone travelled to and from the city in a particular vehicle.

If the ingredients are assembled, why don’t more people carpool?

First, the High Occupancy Lanes are too new and too few to give an incentive to carpool.  Second, there is no one app to sign up for carpooling.  Several people are using different apps.  The less options the computer program has, the more inefficient the route.  Third, you cannot receive compensation for taking passengers without violating the law such as the Highway Traffic Act?  Fourth, and most important, there is no real financial incentive to carpool.  Gasoline is not sufficiently expensive to force people into carpooling.

What if a city or province started a pilot project?  What if every carpool passenger rode to and from work without paying for free? What if the city paid the carpooling driver based on the distance travelled and the number of passengers?  What if a driver, wishing to reduce travel time, takes passengers between carpool lots and the nearest subway or bus stop?

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