Commute Alternatives

With a little experimentation, Bay Area commuters like you can customize an inexpensive and enjoyable way to get to work. Try linking different methods of travel and varying the way you commute during the week. Using commute alternatives even a few days a week can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

Carpools

Share a ride!

A carpool is two or more commuters sharing a ride to or from the same company or several companies located near one another. The advantages of carpooling can include:

Carpool Apps

Flexible Carpooling!

Find rides when you need them and share the cost of driving - that's the reason why carpool apps are becoming so popular with commuters.

The Bay Area is fortunate to have lots of carpool app providers. Each one is slightly different, so we recommend that you do some homework before signing up for one or more services.

511 has developed a list of recommended carpool app providers, so you can get started by checking out their recommendations here.

Carpool Matchlists

Find Your Match!

For commuters that want to join or form a more traditional carpool, there are several matchlist databases to help.

Matchlist databases provide contact information and commute schedules of people who share similar commutes.

Many employers have staff who will help you find matches - check with your HR or Employee Transportation Team.

Getting your whole office to register on the same matchlist database increases the chance of finding coworkers for carpool partners.

Casual Carpooling

Bay Bridge Carpooling!

Casual carpooling is a convenient and engaging way to commute to and from certain parts of the Bay Area. On weekday mornings, people meet as either drivers or passengers at designated locations in the East Bay and travel to downtown San Francisco. Casual carpooling allows cars with three or more people going westbound on the Bay Bridge in the morning to take advantage of the high occupancy vehicle lanes, save time at the toll plaza and get the double bonus of a reduced bridge toll.

There are more than 20 casual carpool pick-up locations. Check the unofficial casual carpool blog for a full list of pick-up locations and additional information such as safety precautions, who gets to pick the radio station, and whether carpool passengers contribute toward the toll or visit sfcasualcarpool.com.

Vanpools

Great Option for Longer Commutes!

Vanpooling is convenient and economical, especially if your employees travel long distances to go to your work location. Traditionally, vanpools have 7-15 passengers, including the driver. The vehicle may be owned or leased.

511 coordinates vanpools in the Bay Area and offers a variety of free services and rewards to start or join a vanpool. Their vanpool consultants are committed to keeping vanpools full and on the road with empty-seat subsidies.

Benefits of Vanpooling:

  • Reduce wear and tear on your personal vehicle.
  • Empty-seat subsidies from 511.
  • Leased-van perks include no long-term financing, access to extra vehicle.
  • Free tolls for registered vanpools with 11-15 seats.
  • Dedicated support services from 511.
  • 511 offers up to $500 in gas cards for starting a new vanpool.
  • Commute.org offers up to $500 in incentives for new vanpool drivers and up to $300 in incentives for new vanpool passengers

For more information on the 511 Vanpool Program, please click here.

For more information on the Commute.org Vanpool Incentives, please click here.

Bicycling

Ride your bike!

Bicycling to work can be a great alternative to driving. It is less expensive while providing added health benefits. To get started: 

More info:


Park & Ride Lots

Free Parking for People Who Rideshare!

The more than 150 free, convenient Park & Ride lots in the Bay Area make great places to meet your carpool or vanpool. To find out more about Park & Ride lots in the Bay Area, click on this link for 511's list of Park and Ride locations by city.


HOV Lanes

Easy on Down the Road!

Some of the most congested sections of Bay Area freeways have dedicated lanes just for buses, carpools and vanpools. Some Bay Area HOV lanes require 3+ passengers while others require 2+, so you want to make sure that you comply with the occupancy rules when you use those lanes. For a complete list of lanes, effective hours, and HOV requirements visit this link.