Carpooling became more popular in Athens, Greece due to frequent public transportation strikes in recent years. For example, on January 17, 2013 metro workers went on strike, which continued for over a week. On some of these days workers of other public transportation methods (bus, tram, etc.) also went on strike. Consequently, the only solution for transportation within the city, except of course for walking or cycling, was the car.
As these strikes continued to appear, the need for a more organized and structured carpooling system became a necessity and thus, several initiatives have been born. These initiatives emerged mainly in the form of carpooling websites such as the following: carpooling.gr, pamemazi.gr, and carpooling.ntua.gr. Social media, mainly twitter, played a key role in progressing these initiatives, as in days of high congestion people can offer car rides simply by using the hashtag #carpoolgr.
Carpooling.ntua.gr offers its services to the students of the Technical University of Athens (NTUA) who want to go to (or leave) the university campus. The most common problem students have to deal with is the increased waiting time at bus stops. The map below shows the metro station (M), which is very near the aforementioned bus stops, and the university campus (in blue). From this map we can see that there are several carpooling stations installed all over the campus, and of course a carpooling station at the metro station where students can get off the metro line and continue their route via car.
How can students who want to use the NTUA carpooling initiative recognize fellow students?
- Passengers should wait near designated signs, holding their library cards;
- Drivers should have a sticker with the NTUA carpooling logo in the front car window.
In a small community, such as a university, carpooling can easily function and become a well-organized program for students.
From the problems that have already emerged though, it is easy to understand the possible problems when it comes to installing carpooling initiatives on a bigger urban environment such as a city.
What is your opinion about carpooling for university students? Does something similar exist in your city?
Credits: Images by Athina Kyrgeorgiou. Data linked to sources.