City of Penticton celebrates Carpool Week

The City of Penticton is encouraging residents to save a bit of money by combining their vehicle trips with others in celebration of Carpool Week.

The Okanagan's sixth annual Carpool Week promotion will take place Oct. 22 to 26. As part of Carpool Week 2012, commuters are encouraged to visit Carpool.ca and participate in a various activities making them eligible to win prizes including Ticketmaster coupons, a GPS navigational system and free fuel.

Carpool Week 2012 prize-winning activities include:

  • Registering with www.carpool.ca as a new user,
  • Returning to www.carpool.ca as an existing user and search for carpool partners,
  • Submitting an inspiration carpool story (online through www.carpool.ca),
  • Using the new www.carpool.ca Trip Tracker feature to measure savings resulting from trips not taken, or
  • Using social media to play Transportation Trivia and Carpool Tag. Visit www.facebook.com/CarpoolDotCA or follow @CarpoolDotCA on Twitter for details.

The carpool program is funded in partnership with the City of Penticton, City of Kelowna, City of Vernon, Town of Oliver, District of Summerland and District of Peachland. These groups encourage commuters to consider using the carpool-matching service provided at Carpool.ca. The user-friendly system is secure and free. As more and more people register, carpooling becomes a viable transportation alternative for commuters.

“Apart from lessening our impact on the environment, carpooling makes good economic sense for motorists,” said Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton. “At a time when people are really trying to watch their pennies, carpooling is an easy way to reduce costs on fuel, parking and vehicle maintenance.”

The City is also encouraging residents and visitors to play an active part in Carpool Week. Who Wants to Clean a Millionaire, a trivia game, will be offered for people to play and possibly win prizes at the Penticton Community Centre on Oct. 24 between 2 to 3:30 p.m. Furthermore, an interactive school presentation is offered to Penticton schools at no charge.

Although the costs of gas and parking are readily noticeable, the true costs of owning and operating a vehicle are much higher than most drivers would suspect. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spends over $12,000 per year on transportation alone, the second highest family expense next to shelter.

The program is not just for people who live within city limits; in fact, approximately 20 per cent of commuters drive in from communities outside of major centres. In areas where public transit might not be readily available, carpooling makes even better sense.

“It's important to note that carpooling doesn't require a large commitment,” says Anne Marie Thornton, Manager of Carpool.ca. “Our desire to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions tends to be secondary to our need for convenience, so consider carpooling once or twice a week to start.”