Western community to drive into carpool program

Imagine having your own reserved parking space in a lot of your choice on campus.

It’s yours – that is, if you choose to carpool with a campus colleague or two, on your way to work. The reserved parking space is just one incentive offered through a new carpool program at Western, aiming to support environmentally and economically feasible means of transportation.

While Western did previously offer a carpool program for staff, faculty and students, it wasn’t widely used, said Beverley Ayeni, Western’s sustainability manager.

“The old program was limited, and just didn’t work logistically for everyone. Our new program is much more robust. We took to looking into the London community to see what other great programs were going on, and we catered this new program to meet the needs of the Western community,” she said.

“We have a better understanding of our staff, faculty and students and there are some great benefits available now.”

The three key incentives offered to members of the Western community through the new carpool program are:

  • A reserved parking space, chosen by a carpool group, in a lot accessible with a current pass and transponder;
  • A guaranteed ride home, offered to registered carpool members in the event of an emergency, including a limited refund for taxi fare; and
  • Four complimentary parking vouchers, per term, offered to each registered carpool member as a one-day parking pass.

Here’s how it works:

As you prepare to renew your parking permit for the following term, consider forming a carpool. To get the benefits of the new program, you must be carpooling with other members of the Western community, Ayeni noted.

To register, first sign up as a carpooler with the City of London via uwo.regionalrideshare.ca. Western doesn’t have its own carpool database, so this is the best way to find someone else heading to Western. You are also able to pick a colleague of your own, though you still need to register with the city, Ayeni added. The program is open to staff, faculty and students at Western.

Carpool groups must include two or more members. Interested groups need to then schedule an appointment with Parking & Visitor Services by either visiting the office in person (Support Services Building 4150) or emailing parking@uwo.ca.

Once the carpool group is formed, only one transponder will be used for that group. So, if there are three people in the group, two will have to return their transponders. But, that means the cost of the transponder is split three ways.

Between parking passes and gas expenses, it’s much less expensive for group members to park on campus, Ayeni explained.

What’s more, given the success of the program, there could be more parking spaces available across campus. Carpooling could easily reduce traffic congestion, she continued.

“This is a great way to take part in the climate change challenge,” Ayeni said. “But you also save money, conserve energy and reduce traffic congestion, as well. Ideally, we would like to see people signing up for this, and seeing it as a value and a great way to help our environment.”

While carpool groups are required to sign up for a minimum duration of one term at a time, the parking office will consider dissolving a group due to extenuating circumstances, should they come up, Ayeni added.

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JUMP IN THE ’POOL: To learn more about or sign up for Western’s new carpool program, visit the Parking & Visitor Services website, uwo.ca/parking.