Can’t stand being stuck in the morass of South Florida traffic every morning and evening during your commute? If Miami’s mass transportation system
doesn’t meet your needs, you don’t have much choice but to stick it out on the roads of Miami Dade county
. Sharing responsibility with other drivers in a carpool can help reduce your stress and provide you with time to get some extra work done, catch up on your leisure reading, or simply relax while someone else does the driving.
Miami Carpooling Options
If you’re able to organize a group of friends, coworkers, or even people who work in a similar area, you can register as an official carpool with South Florida Commuter Services by either visiting their website
or calling them at 1-800-234-RIDE. Carpools consisting of two or more individuals are eligible to access High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on roads throughout the county. If you have three or more riders, you are eligible to receive a 95 Express decal
that provides you with free access to the I-95 express lanes.
Miami Vanpool Options
If you have a larger group consisting of between five and fifteen passengers, you are eligible to participate in the South Florida Vanpool Program. Participants in the program share the costs of commuting and normally achieve significant savings. In addition, the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide a $400 subsidy to help you get started. The vanpool program will provide you with a vehicle, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and a fuel purchasing program. As with carpools, you are eligible to use the HOV lane and receive free access to 95 Express. Additionally, the primary driver of the vanpool is allowed limited personal use of the van.
Emergency Ride Home Program
One of the biggest concerns voiced by individuals considering participation in a carpool or vanpool is that they need the flexibility to leave work early or stay late in the event of an emergency. To help reduce this risk for drivers, South Florida Commuter Services offers the Emergency Ride Home Program
. This program provides carpool and vanpool participants with six vouchers per year for taxi rides home.
While it’s not yet available in Miami, residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties may also use the SchoolPool program
to help organize carpooling services for families with students at participating schools.
Hidden Benefits of Sharing Rides
If the convenience and financial arguments aren’t sufficient to convince you to participate in a shared ride program, have you considered the environmental benefits? Here are some surprising facts from South Florida Commuter Services:
- Drivers in the United States tally up 29 miles of driving each day, spending almost an hour in the car daily.
- Every car on the road drives an average of 12,000 miles annually and uses 550 gallons of gas.
- The annual cost of traffic congestion in South Florida is between $2-$3 billion, for an average of $900-$1700 per motorist per year.
- Reducing the number of cars commuting during rush hour can reduce traffic and improve air quality. In fact, if half of all employees would share the ride, 15 million cars would be removed from the road daily.