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ECONOTES : Car-Pooling Book Tells How for the Lone Driver

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Have you been feeling a little guilty about your contribution to freeway congestion and air pollution?

Next week is California Rideshare Week, the annual statewide push to reform drive-alone commuters.

If you need a break-the-habit starter kit, try “The Joy of Carpooling,” an informative pamphlet that answers questions and offers some unexpected benefits of ride-sharing.

For instance: “If you never thought you could get your work done in eight hours, you may be surprised. Knowing you have to leave at car-pool time instead of ‘whenever’ helps you organize your time more efficiently.”

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The pamphlet’s author is Susan Shankle, a San Mateo consultant who spent several years as an employee-transportation coordinator, the person responsible in any California corporation for getting the company work force to ride-share.

“I was responsible for trying to get 6,000 employees out of their personal cars,” Shankle says.

And how did she do? “I figure I got a few hundred cars off the road,” she says. “Our program won quite a few Bay Area awards.”

One of her biggest hits was an on-line ride-share data base, which meant that an employee could decide at the last minute to car-pool.

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But, Shankle adds, it was a hard job. “This booklet is something I could have used. People have so many questions, like, ‘What happens if my kid gets sick and I don’t have a car?’ There was no little how-to manual.”

So after she left her job to start her own business, she put together “The Joy of Carpooling,” now in its second printing.

Shankle thinks car-pooling suffers from a negative image. “There are benefits,” she says. “You save time, you save money, and you are making life on the planet better for your kids and grandkids.”

“The Joy of Carpooling” is available by sending $5 and a self-addressed business-size envelope with two first-class stamps to Shankle at 3181 Campus Drive, No. 364, San Mateo, Calif. 94403.

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More Incentive

California commuters can celebrate Rideshare Week and qualify for prizes statewide (from bicycles to weekend getaways) by making the pledge to try alternative transportation at least one day a week. Pledge cards are available at workplaces or by calling (800) COMMUTE.

About 80% of the L.A. Basin’s 6.8 million commuters drive alone, says Commuter Transportation Services Inc., so there’s lots of room for ride-share converts.


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