Sharing cars is all the rage these days. By using cars less, and using fewer cars, we can reduce traffic congestion and our carbon footprint. But there’s more than one way to use fewer cars. What’s the difference between carpool and car sharing? What is uberPOOL? What is a pool car – is it the same?

GoGet is a car sharing service, so we get these questions all the time. Instead of answering them one by one, we’ve written this guide to clear up all the different terms.

This article deals with lots of topics, so you can jump to the one that interests you most.

A Melbourne Car share car parked with the Melbourne Skyline in the background

What is carpool?

Carpool is the original ride sharing. Basically, you take a passenger in your car when you commute or take a trip, instead of riding alone. The idea is to stop the passenger from having to make the same trip in their car. By using fewer cars to carry more people, carpool reduces traffic and lowers emissions.

The history of carpooling is a really interesting one! It really rose to popularity in the 1970’s during the oil crisis. But carpool was around much earlier. In the US, wartime posters promoted carpooling to try and free up resources for the war effort.

They do it so car we - Carry more to win the war - a world war 2 poster promoting car pooling in the united states - source UC Berkeley Bancroft Library

You could say we turn to carpool whenever we realise the large impact driving has. In the 1940’s, it was to get more resources to the Allied forces. In the 1970’s, it was to help with the drop in oil supply.

Today, carpool is used to reduce our carbon footprint, as the effects of climate change become more pronounced. In Australia, transit lanes can only be used by cars carrying at least two or three passengers, in an attempt to promote carpooling. Lots of councils and businesses are also promoting carpool.

Three young people sharing the back seat of a car carpooling their way to work - this is carpooling rather than car sharing - what is carpool

What is car sharing?

Car sharing, or car share, refers to a kind of short term car rental, aimed at replacing car ownership. Instead of owning a car, becoming a car share member gives you access to a fleet of different types of cars that can be used for as little as an hour.

For anyone travelling fewer than 10,000km per year, car sharing normally ends up cheaper than owning a private car. It also gives you access to more cars than you’d ever be able to own yourself, from vans and hatchbacks, to SUVs and convertibles! Check out our range of vehicles to see what we mean.

GoGet is Australia’s largest car sharing network, operating in five different cities. To learn more about how car share can help you get around while saving money, head to our homepage and find out more.

A lineup of GoGet cars in the Sydney CBD - goget has a range of vehicles for hire like vans, suvs, and hatchbacks

Carpool vs car share

Both carpool and car share reduce traffic and your impact on the environment. Carpool lets two people, who would otherwise drive two cars, take one. That means there’s less congestion and lower emissions.

Car sharing, on the other hand, lets up to 30 people use a single car when they need it. That means they don’t need to own their own car, or a second car. Car share members also tend to drive less. That means fewer cars on the road, or sitting unused in driveways and on city streets.

Whether you use car share or carpool, you’re reducing the number of cars in the world, and on our roads. The best part is you’re saving money and the environment!

What is car share in the UK?

In Britain, car share refers to what Australians and North Americans call carpool. Car sharing means getting a lift with coworkers or travellers heading in the same direction.

So what do the British call call car sharing, like what GoGet does? They refer to it as a car club. In some ways this is accurate, as you need a membership to join a car sharing service.

In the UK, searching for car share might also bring you to Peter Kay’s Car Share. It’s a BBC TV comedy series from 2013, and it’s really quite funny. The first episode is on YouTube, and also below.

What is uberPOOL? Or what is Uber Pool…

uberPOOL is a product from the ride sharing company Uber. uberPOOL drivers list their car on the app, which connects them with passengers heading the same way. That’s the original idea of ride share, though Uber has since turned into more of a taxi service. Just like the main Uber product, uberPOOL is used more like taxi share than proper ride sharing.

uberPOOL came to Australia in 2018, though it’s more like Uber Express POOL in the US. Passengers are matched with a driver, but they’re asked to walk a few minutes to a convenient pickup point.

So uberPOOL is pretty similar to carpool, but it’s a paid service through the Uber app.

A hand holding up a phone with the Uber logo on it with a taxi in the background - what is uberpool - photo by Núcleo Editorial

Australian carpool apps and websites

Some Australian platforms try to connect drivers and passengers going the same direction. Some are geared towards commuters, while some focus on long distance trips. CoSeats, Carpool Club, and Share ur Ride are a few of the options.

There are also regional options. For example, Western Sydney Carpool covers Sydney’s west and Co-Hop covers Macquarie Park in Sydney. There are similar services in other cities. Google ‘carpool’ and your region to find them.

Classifieds sites also let you search for a passenger or driver. Gumtree’s Rideshare & Travel Partners category is one example. You should be careful here, not everyone has good intentions. But the benefits of sharing a ride is often worth the due diligence.

What is a pool car?

A pool car is a company owned car used by multiple employees. They are also referred to as fleet cars, as they’re part of the company’s fleet of vehicles.

Pool cars aren’t the same as carpool, which is a bit odd. To be fair, the terms are sort of related. For pool cars, staff members access a pool of vehicles. In carpool, people pool their resources. One uses pool as a noun, the other as a verb. But they do come from the same place. Kind of.

Carpool and car share for business

Business can use car share and carpool to save money and reduce a company’s carbon footprint. Car share can reduce the cost of getting around at work, while carpool helps employees get to the office.

Car share can help businesses replace pool cars, and reduce the size of a company’s fleet. Pool cars often sit unused, so using car share is often much cheaper, as you’re only paying for the cars when you actually use them. No more will you have to ask around for where pool cars are parked, or who has the keys.

Asking staff to carpool helps reduce peak hour traffic. When Optus relocated to Macquarie Park, it knew the traffic there was bad. Optus encouraged their team to carpool, offering parking and other incentives. Now, around 10 percent of Optus staff share their commute!

To find out more about car share for your business, check out our GoGet for business page.

A business man with aritechtural bluprints in hid hand leaning against a goget car share vehicle

The takeaway? Share a ride to help you and the world!

There aren’t many things that both help you and help the planet. Generally self enrichment comes at the expense of something important. But travelling with one person in one car is so inefficient it gives us an oppourtunity!

If you haven’t tried carpooling to work or school, give it a go. Starting the day with human interaction is a great way to lift your spirits.

And if you’re thinking about whether you really need a car, give GoGet car share a try. With over 3,000 cars all over the country, there’s a good chance you have a car, van, ute, or convertible near you.

Find your closest GoGet!