Carpooling program hopes to reduce costs, commuting to school with nature in mind

By Albert Cavallaro
Correspondent

Drivers get multiple benefits out of carpooling with one another. (Photo courtesy of Shaun Fitzpatrick)

For the first time since its creation two years ago, the College has opened its environmentally responsible carpool program to student drivers. The program, Lion’s Pool, was originally open to faculty and staff only, but now allows all campus drivers to connect with others who share their commute.

Lion’s Pool was started by Brian Potter, associate political science professor and director of the International Studies program. Potter is the only member of the transportation subcommittee on the College’s President Climate Change Committee (PC3), which is part of a larger initiative to lower the College’s carbon emissions.

“A big piece of our carbon emissions come from commuters,” Potter said.

According to its main proponent, the only thing that the program needs in order to start significantly impacting the College’s carbon footprint is more participants.

“Once we get this critical mass of people using it, it will get more efficient,” Potter said. With cars releasing between five and nine tons of CO2, the environmental impact of just a few drivers carpooling together is astronomical.

Of course, not everyone is concerned in general about the College’s carbon emissions or the broader issue of global warming.

In fact, carpooling is really about more than just being environmentally conscious. It’s about being financially responsible.

Driving is costlier than one might think. AAA estimates the cost of driving to be about 60 cents per mile. For the average driver, that comes up to over $9,000 in a year. Carpooling with one other person would cut that in half.

If more drivers carpooled, not only would this reduce individual and campus-wide carbon footprints, but it would also save drivers hundreds of dollars annually.

In order to get started,  drivers can register at tcnj.icarpool.com and post their planned drives. In conjunction with social media, the site connects drivers to one another with information about sharing commutes.

At the end of every month, the person with the most miles driven with a passenger will get exclusive rights to a premium parking spot for a month.

“If you were the carpooler of the month you would have the right to park there, and no one else could or they would get ticketed,” Potter said.

Whether it is for the environment, the money,  the guaranteed parking spot or a unique social opportunity, Lion’s Pool has all the resources for college drivers in need.