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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Southern Californians have one of the worst commutes in the country. The 5, the 405, the 101 — don’t they all seem to crawl along at a snail’s pace at just about any time of the day? That’s why we think you should “Drive Less. Smile More.” Here are a few reasons why you should considering ridesharing to work, and not just on Rideshare Thursdays.

Driving Less Means Less Stress

The slow grind, the angry honking, the jerks cutting you off in traffic — it is not exactly the ideal start to your work day. Whether you take a bus, train or ride your bike, you’ll deal with less traffic, less aggravation and arrive at work in a better mood and better state of mind to work. We’re sure your employer will agree.

Stay Healthy

According to the Census Bureau, California has one of the largest populations of commuters in the country who travel 60 minutes or longer to get to work and the majority of those commuters travel alone. Instead of sitting in your car for an hour to get to work, taking a train or a bus will give you a chance to walk to your stop and to your workplace. Biking to work is an even better option; you can pedal your way to work and get a full-body workout at the same time.

Save Money

Saving money is probably the top reason people rideshare. If you can get a carpool partner, you can split the cost of fuel and give your car a break when it’s your partner’s turn to drive. If you opt to bike to work, you can cancel that costly gym membership. If you can quit your car commute altogether, you can save on car-related expenses like routine maintenance and repair and insurance premiums. Leaving the wheels at home could even earn you some money. According to IE511.org, you can earn a $2/day incentive for each day of ridesharing for the first three months and incentives of up to $400 a month for a qualified van pool, plus many workplaces offer reimbursement for ridesharing and discounts on monthly public transportation costs.

Use Your Time Better

We all know that texting or surfing the web while driving is illegal, even when traffic is crawling along at a speed slower than you can walk. But on a bus or a train, texting, surfing the web, even sleeping — it’s no big deal. Everyone else is doing it, too. Using public transportation will also save you some time getting to work and give you a chance to take care of tasks so those chores don’t take away from your personal time with family and friends.


According to the National Safety Council, riding the bus is more than 170 times safer than traveling by automobile. Traveling by rail is probably the safest mode of transportation — according to the SPRC, a coalition of state transportation officials, riding a train is more than 23 times safer than driving a car. And if your coworkers want to go out for a drink after closing a big deal, you won’t have to worry about limiting your toasts because you won’t be driving.

Make Friends

New transplants always find it hard to make friends in LA, and they blame it on the region being so spread out. While that may true, the time we spend alone in our cars is also a reason. Being social doesn’t have to be reserved just for social media — flash a smile or move over for someone when riding the bus or train. Chat someone up about where they got their cup of coffee at the bus stop or train station. Share tips about the best, fastest place to grab a bite on the way to work. Ridesharing is also a fantastic way to meet people at work or who live in your area. Go511.com has a variety of suggestions for how to find a carpool or vanpool in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Metro also maintains a ridematching database to help you find a neighbor who shares your workplace destination and hours.

Rideshare And Save The Environment

According to Greg Pettis, chair of the MSRC, “Driving one mile creates almost a pound of emissions, primarily greenhouse gases. So, with the typical roundtrip commute in Southern California averaging about 40 miles, removing even a single car from our roadways can significantly impact our air quality.”