by Emily Kirwan and David Goldstein
This is Rideshare Week in Ventura County, and the Ventura County Transportation Commission asks locals to “Reimagine your commute.” Those who pledge at rideweek.org to catch an eco-friendly, easy and affordable ride to work or school will be entered for a chance to win one of nine $100 VISA gift cards. You can also inquire with your employer to see if they participate in a rideshare program and pledge through their employee transportation coordinator. Pledges may be submitted through October 17.
Transportation planners coordinating Rideshare Week hope those who give ridesharing a try may be able to find a new preferred mode of transportation, at least for one day each week the rest of the year. Joining a carpool is a great way to rideshare, and you can find one through www.ridematch.info/rp35/home/home. Regular carpoolers generally take turns driving the others in their group, giving each other a chance to get ahead on work — or relax — while taking strain off the planet.
Busses are another common method of ridesharing. Bus routes, viewable at www.goventura.org/vctc-transit/routes-schedules/, may go exactly where you need or, if they do not, bicycle racks on local busses let you bring your bicycle so you can easily cover the final distance to your destination under your own power.
Local transit operators throughout Ventura County also provide fixed-route and dial-a-ride services. Two major commuter rail systems, Amtrak and Metrolink, pass through Ventura County. Both bus and train passengers can sleep, listen to podcasts or review the day’s to-do list while enjoying a relaxed, comfortable ride.
Bicycling is also promoted as part of Rideshare Week. Ventura County boasts a variety of stunning and safe bike paths, which can be seen at www.goventura.org/getting-around/bike/. Commuters can use Google Maps to plan a route which prioritizes bike lanes.
There are many reasons to walk, bike or share a ride. Those who bike or walk to work are not just contributing to a cleaner environment; they also get exercise and spend time outdoors. Those who carpool or take a bus bypass the frustrations and time commitments of fighting through traffic. Nevertheless, over 79 percent of Ventura County residents regularly drive to work alone, according to 2017 data published at Datausa.io.
Participation in rideshare week may get a boost this year due to its proximity to California Clean Air Day, which celebrated its second annual commemoration last week, on Oct. 2. The event, coordinated by the Coalition for Clean Air, a non-profit organization sponsored by a coalition of public agencies, health care plans, power companies and others, collected over one million pledges for actions to reduce air pollution. At cleanairday.org/individual-pledge/, people pledged in 16 categories, including nine things people can do specifically related to vehicle emissions. Prominent among these was ride sharing, including the innovative “take a carpool when ride hailing,” and avoiding emissions from idling.
Fortunately, there are simple, daily actions Ventura County residents can take to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our air quality. Locals can carpool, ride the bus or train, bike or walk to work or school. Rideshare Week, Oct. 7-11, is the perfect opportunity to test out a new method for commuting to work, school and other daily destinations.
This year, during Rideshare Week, reimagine your commute!
David Goldstein is an environmental analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency and Emily Kerwan is a professional writer with Celtis, working under contract to the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
For more information about transportation, air quality and ridesharing during Rideshare Week and beyond, follow VCTC (@goVCTC) on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and VCAPCD (@VCAPCD) on Twitter. Or, visit the following resources: