Carpool - Casual Carpool
Looking to dodge rush hour traffic and make some new friends on your way to work? Casual carpooling is a convenient and engaging way to commute. A Bay Area tradition, casual carpooling has brought people together to beat the Bay Bridge back-up for over 30 years.
Here's how it works for commuters heading west across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: On weekday mornings, people meet as either drivers or passengers at designated locations in the East Bay and travel to downtown San Francisco. Casual carpooling allows cars with three or more people going westbound on the Bay Bridge in the morning to take advantage of the high occupancy vehicle lanes, where groups can save time at the toll plaza and get the double bonus of a reduced bridge toll.
There are over 20 casual carpool pick-up locations. At the most popular sites--such as North Berkeley BART and El Cerrito Del Norte BART--the service is in full swing earlier than 6 a.m. and later than 9 a.m., though timing varies at the other locations. Passengers get rides on a first-come, first-served basis and are dropped off at Fremont and Mission streets unless they have prearranged another stop. At North Berkeley BART, riders have the option of lining up for the Financial District or the Civic Center. The San Francisco casual carpool pick-up location is NOT on Beale Street, but on the west side of Spear Street between Howard and Folsom Streets where it will be for approximately 18 months due to construction. Check the unofficial casual carpool blog for a full list of pick-up locations and additional information such as safety precautions, who gets to pick the radio station, and whether carpool passengers contribute toward the toll or visit sfcasualcarpool.com.
The San Francisco Bay Area has the world's third busiest rush hour, so it's no surprise that additional carpooling services have cropped up in recent years. The latest option is dynamic ridesharing--think casual carpooling for the 21st century commuter. Passengers and drivers can connect with each other in real time using a variety of user-friendly smartphone applications. 511 has rounded up some of the popular free and commercial options.
Learn More - Helpful Videos about Casual Carpooling
Want to know a little more about casual carpooling? Check out these three videos.