Get In the Carpool Lane: The 5 Best Carpooling Apps
When we were kids, our parents told us not to get into cars with strangers, but that’s before we all had smartphones in our pockets and the price of gas skyrocketed.
Now, if you need to get around, carpooling is a way to save at the gas pump — or the electric car charging station.
We’ve rounded up the best apps for carpooling, whether you’re catching an Uber or looking for someone to share commuting costs.
Safety comes first when carpooling. Tell someone the details of your carpool like who, when and where, even sharing your location. Be sure you know the safety features in each app, too.
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- Same app as regular ridesharing
- Widespread availability in the US
- Different types of rides
Uber is one of many ridesharing apps that enable you to summon a car to your location when you need a ride. No more attempting to hail cabs with your hand or a phone call.
Uber also allows users to select from different types of rides, one being UberX Share (formally known as Uber Pool).
UberX Share is a carpooling option for those who don’t mind sharing a ride with other passengers. The benefits of UberX Share are the same as any other carpool. Your ride costs less because you share the cost with someone else and you reduce your ecological footprint by eliminating separate trips.
To use UberX Share, launch the Uber app, enter your destination, then select “UberX Share” for the ride type.
After pausing during the pandemic, UberX Share is being slowly relaunched. If you don’t see UberX Share as an option now, check again next time you book.
Many apps and carpooling services suspended shared rides during the pandemic and are beginning to restart now. Check an app’s website for information about when and if shared rides will resume.
- Comparable service to industry leader, Uber
- Widespread availability in the US
- Only two riders per vehicle
Arguably Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft also offers on-demand rides through an app. Lyft’s version of carpooling is Lyft Shared and allows drivers to pick up and drop off other passengers during your ride.
Using Lyft Shared saves your wallet and gives you that eco-friendly feeling, eliminating the need for more vehicles on the road. Lyft never puts more than two riders in a vehicle, so don’t worry about it getting too cramped.
Grabbing a Lyft Shared ride is simple. Launch Lyft, put in your destination, then select the “Lyft Shared” option from the type of vehicles available.
Lyft Shared isn’t available everywhere yet but remember to look for it when you book.
- A true carpooling option for commuters
- Add your schedule and find a ride
- Low prices compared to ridesharing apps
You may know Waze as a turn-by-turn navigation app that alerts you to an accident or speed trap ahead on your route. But have you heard of Waze Carpool?
Waze Carpool is a completely separate app from Waze that allows you to find users to carpool with on your way to work, school or just about anywhere.
Waze Carpool is not an on-demand car service like Uber or Lyft. You input your schedule with the hope that drivers on the same route will offer to carpool with you.
You pay the driver a fee but you’ll generally find it to be much lower than conventional ridesharing services.
Or you could be the carpool driver and have riders pay you. You can set your own price or follow Waze’s recommended price, which factors in gas prices and trip distance.
To get started, download Waze Carpool to your phone. Once installed, create an account and put in your travel needs for the work week.
Just remember that your ride isn’t set until you are paired up with other users and everything is confirmed, which may take some time.
- Instant, speedy carpooling for commuters
- Available in select US cities
- Prices are reasonable
We love Via, as it’s exactly what we want from a carpooling app: speedy scheduling, fast confirmations and price savings. Simply drop a pin on the map showing your pick up point and a second pin for your destination.
Via works like Lyft and Uber with hired drivers standing by to take you to your destination. The difference is that carpooling is the default with Via.
If you need a private ride, Via isn’t the service for you. If you’re OK with a shared ride, this is the premier choice.
The major downside to Via is that coverage is extremely limited. For example, Via is available in New York City, but only covers a small portion of the city.
Via is an amazing option for those who can use it. Otherwise, check the company’s website for its service area.
- Helps parents arrange carpools for kids
- Join a community of friends and neighbors
Created by a mom, Pogo helps parents find carpools for wherever their children need to go, whether it be school, the library or afternoon sports.
Pogo allows parents and friends to join a common pool and see when rides are needed. Parents can add events to a calendar with pickup and drop-off destinations, noting whether a child needs a ride or the parents can offer a ride to others.
Pogo is specialized compared to other carpooling apps, but can relieve stress for parents and save money on transportation costs via a reliable network of known drivers.
Pogo allows you to connect with other parents in your community, too, such as those whose children attend the same school as your child.
Once you download the Pogo app, you’ll need to create an account to get started, but you can then immediately begin planning carpools.
There is even a built-in messaging platform to easily coordinate carpools with others in your pool.
Best of all, Pogo doesn’t cost a dime.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can sign up as a Waze Carpool driver. Waze doesn’t pay you but you can get payments from riders through the app. You can set your own price or follow Waze’s recommended price, which factors in gas prices and trip distance.
Waze Carpool is a great way to offset the cost of your commute by giving others a lift in the process.
Waze Carpool currently logs over half a million rides each month. You’ll have to give Waze Carpool a try, though, to see if the carpooling app is popular in your community and offers a large user base.
The availability of carpooling options may differ depending on where you live (urban vs. rural areas) and the routes you travel.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.