When I changed jobs last month I initially took the bus. Even though I live in a different town to my job, the bus between the two places is cheaper than driving once you take into account petrol, all-day parking and other variable costs of driving a car (e.g. having to service it more often, tyres etc.). I quickly discovered one of our family friends takes the same bus to work every day and she lives around the corner from us. But at that stage I thought that due to parking costs it would take at least three people to make carpooling more cost-effective than taking the bus.

After a couple of weeks, one of my colleagues spotted me walking to the bus stop and offered me a ride to work. She showed me where to park for free near our office and that made all the difference! So now my friend and I are able to carpool to work more cost-effectively than taking the bus. I’ve essentially halved the cost of my commute! Our car, being a hybrid, is already very cost effective. At my last job, which had a similar-length commute, I spent about $40 a week on petrol for around 350km of travel. Now I’m spending about the same but someone else is paying for half of it!

Why didn’t I get my colleague who gave me the ride involved in the carpool, you may ask? Well, she works an earlier shift. Another advantage of switching from the bus to carpooling is I can get a little bit more sleep in the morning.

The only downside is the environmental one. Our hybrid car is pretty efficient in terms of carbon emissions. On a per-person basis our emissions are almost as good as taking the bus. But the problem with that maths is that you have to ignore the fact that the bus is going to be travelling anyway. So environmentally, the bus will win out every time. Hopefully we can add a third carpool buddy in the future to ease my conscience a bit about that.

In the mean time we’ll enjoy being able to reallocate some of our transport budget to our investments!

Comment Policy: For this blog, I’ve implemented a Comment with Kindness policy. You can read more about it here, but the gist of it is: Follow what I call the “Grandma Rule”. If you wouldn’t take that tone with your grandma, your comment probably won’t make it through moderation.

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