Car pools

My German friends, when they come over, or rather if they come over, always find our Californian car pool lanes amazing.  After I explain to them what it is, of course, because the associations connected with “car pools” are all over the place and mostly off the mark.

The beauty of car pool lanes during a bad commute, pic: mwcog.org

Car pool lanes were invented to incentivize people to commute together, to share a car, save energy, and held avoid completely congested roads.  So during commute hours, from 6 t0 9 in the morning (yes, some people drive to work that early – or so the story goes) and from 3 to 7 pm on many freeways one lane is reserved for vehicles with 2 or more occupants (pets don’t count, nor does livestock – to the best of my knowledge).

Since these cars are few and far between the car pool lanes generally allow for faster driving than the regular lanes.  A big advantage if you say, drive south on 101 and end up in the usual traffic jam around Palo Alto every day of your professional live.

Not big enough, though, for most people to drive a big detour in the morning and evening to pick up a colleague who works at the same company or nearby.  I guess, that’s why it works.  If there were too many car pools the whole thing would become counterproductive.

Just to avoid problems: it is a bad idea to take the car pool lane alone.  If they get you, you pay – though the nose.

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