Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the
September 19, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Give Carpooling a Chance
Entreaties to commuters have been ratcheted down a notch
or two as the years have gone by, and it has become abundantly clear
that suburban man will not be separated from his
chariot. Indeed, the vehicles have been fitted out with drink holders
commodious enough to carry enough coffee for the longest traffic jam.
There are ports for laptops, too, and hands-free phones to give
a start on the business day.
No, there will be no switch to semi-private transportation. As for
public transportation, well, that ship has sailed, so to speak. Still,
groups trying to push the average headcount in commuting cars a little
above one have not given up. Not entirely.
On Tuesday, September 25, RideWise of Raritan Valley is sponsoring
its first-ever Traffic Buster Day. The plan, explains spokesperson
the carpooler — or to match those willing to give the arrangement
a try. Once identified, carpoolers are being asked to share a ride
to work for just one day. Adventurous types who sign up will
be rewarded with a free T-shirt and will be eligible for prizes,
$100 and $300 gift certificates. Call 908-704-1011, ext. 14, for a
Keeping her expectations realistic, McDonough says, "We know not
everyone can ride share all the time, but we’re hoping they’ll do
it on this one day."
A lot of people are turned off by carpooling, she says, because they
see it as a full-time commitment. It doesn’t have to be, though, she
is most anxious to inform commuters. Just because they agree to ride
the passenger seat once does not mean they will have to do so forever.
"Think of it as time off from the commute," urges McDonough.
Traffic Buster Day is open to anyone who works in Somerset County,
home to a big stretch of Route 206, a piece of Route 287, and the
reconfigured, but still oh-so-tricky Somerville Circle. Asked about
traffic in the county, McDonough says, "It’s not getting any
It’s not decreasing. There are so many big companies, so many new
housing developments. All it takes is one little accident and traffic
is backed up for miles, for hours."
One barrier to ride sharing, says McDonough, is a perception among
commuters that their rides to work are too short for such an
Those traveling only 20 to 30 minutes tend to believe ride sharing
is only for their co-workers in Pennsylvania or at the Jersey Shore.
But McDonough says fully half of Somerset County’s workers live within
30 minutes of their offices, and getting a percentage of them into
the passenger seat would ease traffic considerably.
And does McDonough herself ride share? "My name is in the
she says, "but no match has come up." There are a number of
possible ride share mates near her home in Morristown, but none work
close enough to her office, in downtown Somerville, to make the
convenient. It is a fair bet that versions of McDonough’s story, some
featuring day care pick-up times, others after-work Pilates
or pre-work runs to the dry cleaners, fill the suburban landscape.
But RideWise is soldiering on, using its Traffic Busters Day not only
to encourage carpooling, but also to build a database of those
souls who are willing to wave good-bye not only to the spouse and
the dog in the morning, but also to the SUV.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.