1. What is your schedule like?
Do you and your carpool partner's schedules coordinate? What time do both of you need to get to campus? Don't forget about the possibility of setting up one-way shared rides and going multimodal*. If you usually get to campus at the same time but head home at different points throughout the day, consider carpooling to campus in the morning and using another method to get home in the evenings.
*Multimodal: Utilizing more than one transportation mode for your commute (i.e., driving your car to your vanpool pickup spot and riding the van the rest of the way to campus, or carpooling to campus and taking public transit back home).
2. Where do you need to be picked up from or drop off at?
Can you agree upon a mutual pickup/drop-off location? Carpools work well when your starting points are close to each other, but don't forget that one of you could always live along the route to campus. You could also meet at a nearby public spot like a grocery or department store parking lot.
3. Who's going to drive?
If both of you have access to a car, there are several ways to share the responsibility of driving. You could alternate days, weeks or even months. Or one of you might need to drive on certain days to drop kids off at school. If driving isn't split equally, take a look at the "Budget" category below on how to share costs.
4. What route should we take to our destination?
Some folks prefer driving on local streets while others choose the freeway. Your partner might even know of a secret short cut through traffic they'd be willing to share. Before you start debating the merits of various routes, settle on one you both agree upon to make the ride as smooth as possible.
5. Are you generally punctual or lax with your schedule?
What will happen if one of you is late to pick up the other? Or what if one of you always takes an extra few minutes to leave the house and run to the car? While being 5 minutes late might not mean much to some, it can be viewed as a serious slight by others. Make sure both you and your partner have similar ideas of what timeliness means to avoid frustration and arguments.
6. What are your music preferences?
If you love Miley Cyrus but the sound of "Wrecking Ball" offends your partners' ears, you may want to find something both you and your partner can agree to listen to during your shared rides. In addition to music, you may prefer listening to the news or podcasts during car rides. Or start listening to an exciting audiobook together (check these out) and look forward to your shared commute to find out what happens next in the story.
7. Is eating allowed in the car? How about smoking? Is it okay to talk on your cell phone in the car?
Don't assume that whatever behaviors you engage in in your own vehicle are fine in someone else's. It's most likely up to the driver's (and car owner's) discretion as to whether food and smoking is allowed. Clarify what is and isn't allowed in each vehicle to avoid conflict later.
8. How should we calculate costs?
9. How and when will payments be made?
Cash or check? Will payments be made on a per ride basis or a weekly or monthly basis? You and your partner may wish to use a different kind of exchange, too. Maybe the passenger can buy breakfast for the driver. Or you can make payments to the other's favorite charity.
10. What will happen if one of us is sick or goes on vacation?
Make sure you have backup plans in place in case the driver is unable to host the pool that day. If you have multiple carpool members, assign a backup driver. If not, keep a TAP card with some funds on hand for those days when you ride the bus to campus.
11. What will happen in case of a car accident?
Make sure each of your capool members has an emergency contact number for each of their fellow passengers on hand. It's always best to be prepared in case of emergency.
Ridematching services like Zimride can help you find carpool partners in the UCLA network for free. Check it out and find your new carpool partner today!