Carpool Stories

We’ve asked over 10 000 South Africans to share their social carpooling stories with us, here are some of our favorites.

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We play counsellor, coach, dietitian and parent adviser

I have a carpool of 4 ladies and myself, I’m sure you can imagine the stories we share! On the other hand we help, motivate and uplift each other.

When something unusual happens in another vehicle or when we see a cute driver, the remarks that follow are hilarious. Oh and 2 out of the 5 are married.

We have a birthday car party when there is a birthday. Birthdays are in January, March, June, September and December. We’ll have a mini birthday cake with candles and sing at the top of our lungs. It makes people in cars around us laugh and when that happens we simply hold up the cake for viewing. Presents are also exchanged.

We share our private stories but made a pact that these stories never leave the car. We play counsellor, coach, dietitian, parent adviser, the list is long. With morning traffic our moods can be dull but we try to be humorous.

For me, these ladies have become a special part of my life, my car friends as I lovingly call them. From different backgrounds, we still seem to get together and love and respect each other.

- Jessica

A South African, American and Rwandan start a carpool

I have been commuting between Cape Town and Stellenbosch for the last three years and I have always had a carpool buddy.

I come from a very Afrikaans ‘dorpie’ far far away, went to a very Afrikaans high school, very Afrikaans university and then got a job in Cape Town working for a very Afrikaans boss. Long story short, I was 25 by the time I started my job in Stellenbosch and was still confusing my "is" and my "are"s!

Enter a very American carpool buddy! Liberal, social anthropologist with the wildest, loudest opinions about everything. One 8th German descent, the rest very uncertain. She believes the CIA is spying on her because of all the anti-government statements she makes on Facebook. And boom! I am fluent in English, still rolling my rrrrr's though. We still work together, so I stay updated on what people in power around the world are doing wrong.

Add to that mix a Rwandan engineering student. Loooooves all the fine things in life and God. English is his third language and now he needs to learn Afrikaans. Shame. We still go see artsy French movies at the Labia.

Exit first American, enter another. Definite Italian descent, sweetest little ballerina girl. Has ADD and dyslexia and managed to get a science degree without taking any drugs ever. She found me on Findalift.co.za.

When they all left me, my first South African carpool buddy found me on FindaLift. English boy from the Southern Suburbs. Science whizz with a science blog. He has read all the fantasy books I like, and more. Great cooking tips on an almost daily basis!

And finally, just two months ago, an Afrikaans girl joined us! Stunning girl, but her English sucks! Is that what I sounded like three years ago?

- Cari

Life's greatest lessons are not learnt in school or at home

The greatest lessons in life are not learnt in school or at home. I found out that life’s greatest lessons are learnt in the everyday hour trips sitting shoulder to shoulder with 4 complete strangers during carpooling.

Lesson 1: A mood and attitude can be spread like wild fire. Do your part and greet everyone with a smile. Tensions between individuals will rise, it’s inevitable. It is therefore important in such cases to hash out the problem in its beginning stages, before it becomes a big issue. In the alternative just separate the individuals, there is a division between front and back for a reason.

Lesson 2: You need to adapt. Take and accept people for who they are. When you are that close to people on an everyday basis you are bound to learn about them. It is up to you to celebrate the differences and learn from everyone’s individual experiences. When you approach the situation with an open mind, you are guaranteed an exciting, colourful experience.

At the end of my academic year I made more than 4 new friends, I practically extended my family.

- Lynette

One member lost and aunt in that horrible taxi and train accident

I’m in a carpool, there are 5 of us in the car and I'm the most regular driver.

About two weeks ago there was an accident that was all over national news channels. The accident was between a train and a taxi where lives were lost. One of our lift club members lost an aunt in that accident.

Last week as a lift club we decided to each contribute money. We went to the family’s home to give them a prayer and the money that was contributed.

Our lift club members are like family, we share everything from happy to sad moments.

- Cindy

Moving forward in our shared journey both within and beyond the boardroom!

When our office relocated, I was fortunate enough to have opportunities to carpool/ carshare with different officemates.

One of our Managers in particular has kindly extended his car to service myself and a few others who come from various teams and positions (project manager, professional officer and interns alike).

Driving together has been great in bringing us all together in a relaxed and casual way, which we do not get to have much of. It has encouraged us to get to know each other at a personal level which would not have been as conducive in a work setting.

From a day-to-day “woosah” debrief with people who understand our professional setting to engaging conversations about our lives, sharing inside jokes and great music to start the day with, it definitely forges a certain bond that allow us to further appreciate each other as people we have the privilege of being in a team with professionally.

It also allows us to give a better insight of where each one is coming from (literally and figuratively!), which can harness genuinely considerate, personable, and effective relationships with each other, as we move forward in our shared journey both within and beyond the boardroom!

- Irina

Oops, nou is ek in die regte kar...

Die afgelope twee maande het ek begin saamry met ‘n saamryklub. Die derde oggend het soos gewoonlik begin. Dit was nog donker buite, maar ek haat om mense te laat wag.

Ek het buitentoe gegaan en onder ‘n boom gaan wag. Ongeveer 7 uur het daar ‘n motor ‘n entjie van my stilgehou. Die vroue-bestuurder was besig om in haar handsak te krap, ek kon dit sien want die motor se dakliggie was aan. Ek het nader gestap en besluit dit is my geleentheid.

Ek het die passasierskant se deur oopgemaak, my voet ingesit en met ‘n môre- môre gegroet. Die volgende oomblik het die bestuurder met ‘n groot spoed weggetrek. Die deur het om die draai nog gewapper en toegeslaan.

Ek het heel verstom gaan staan en gewonder wat ek verkeerd gesê het. Die onvergenoegdheid het ingetree en ek het besluit, dat ek nie die ryklub nodig het nie.

Net toe ek my motor wil gaan haal om te ry, stop daar ‘n ander motor langs my. Ek maak die deur oop en met ‘n more- môre, nou is ek in die regte kar klim ek in.

Toe besef ek dat die ander bestuurder gedink het ek wou haar hijack!

- Annas

I have more energy!

I usually liftshare with my friend as our kids go to the same preschool in Randburg. We travel together from Randburg to Sandton.

Driving to Sandton is only 11km but it can take an hour to get there because of traffic!

These are the benefits I have noticed about carpooling:

  • We share tips about things we are going through with our kids
  • We save fuel money because of only using one car
  • The money saved comes in very handy and can be used for other necessities
  • Chatting along the way, we don’t feel the long drive as much as we would if driving alone.
  • When using her car, I am allowed to take a break from driving in traffic

This makes me more energetic when arriving at work or at home in the evening.

- Thatha

We got through to Kfm!

I fondly remember my lift sharing school days. From grade 1 till grade 12 there were four kids in the car signing along to Kfm.

One of the activities we tried constantly was to phone into Kfm to request a song. After so many unsuccessful tries, we finally got through to them. It was a special day because it was also my birthday! I remember requesting the song and the entire car was singing and jamming along together. Some of the best times of my life.

Other times we would just sit together and read in the car. I have fond memories of the togetherness and the silly things we would do.

- Kylie

We are not just colleagues anymore but have become good friends

I am currently in a lift club from Kensington to Sandton and back from Monday to Friday. There are three of us travelling together.

Being a lift club cuts down on our travel expenses and it is great to have people with you when you run out of petrol or get a puncture. Yes that has happened more than once before. We even broke down when the cam belt snapped.

As you can imagine we have a good few laughs on the way to work and back at other drivers and road rage.

Being in a lift club brings people closer together and builds friendships. We are not just colleagues anymore but have become good friends sharing our highs and lows with each other. We are a truly captive audience!

I would advise anyone to travel with someone rather than on their own. It makes the boring commute seem so much quicker.

- Gill

He actually had a drink while driving!

I once got a lift from a friend’s father who had been travelling in the same lift club with another elderly gentleman for 20 years.

They left at 6:15am and we reached our destination at 7:00am, an hour before I actually start work. The drive in to work was pretty uneventful.

They were quite older than me so we didn't really have much to chat about. On the way home they took a different route and I was a little confused as to what was happening. I didn't say anything because I didn't feel it was my place to do so. They stopped in at the local off-license and the passenger jumped out.

He returned a few minutes later with a bottle of Tassenberg. He then decanted into two glasses which and the driver proceeded to consume during our drive home.

I was gobsmacked! Needless to say, I only lasted one week with that lift club.

- Gary

I thought I enjoyed the alone time but now I can’t imagine...

Sharing a ride with ladies is by far the best choice I have made. I am able to fill petrol in my tank every week but the greatest benefit is having four precious, special friends.

Our trips to work and home are always lively, full of fun, laughter and stories lol never a dull moment.

From strangers to friends and now walking buddies, we’ve even decided to get fit together so we carry our walking gear and head to the stadium straight after work and walk for about an hour.

I remember the one time I had to give my Manger a lift home, he was having car trouble, I was so nervous I was silent from the moment he entered the car all the way home. The ladies still laugh about that, one man among four ladies and being driven by a lady...

Before starting a carpool I thought that I enjoyed the alone time but now I can’t imagine travelling a day all by my lonesome. The friendships are special and will last for a lifetime. The moments are priceless and makes driving every day a lot easier and stress free.

- Jessy

It almost happened right in my car!

I rideshare with 3 females and a male. When traveling in our carpool there’s always a funny story to share. Like this one time we just finished our company function and are busy traveling home.

The guy next to me in the passenger seat had one too many beers and looks like he is about to pass out. As we’re driving he asks me to stop for him because he wants to get something. The girls signal to me that it’s a bad idea, so I say “sorry bru, we’re on a tight schedule”.

...5minutes later he asks again, this time more persistent than earlier.

Again I tell him traffic is really bad and we can’t stop anywhere.

He then insists that we stop at Petroport and says “it’s a guy thing”. I didn’t get what he was saying, I just took for granted that he was drunk and was talking nonsense.

By the time I pass Petroport this guy is wriggling in his seat. I asked him if he is okay and if everything is alright?

His response was: “I need to stop to go to the ‘TOILET’ I can’t hold it in anymore”. We were all laughing so hard, he didn’t see the humour in it.

- Gerald

Most students are unaware of this

For the first 2 years of my time at University, I used to travel with 3-4 other students in a car to campus from Somerset West to Stellenbosch. Classes started at 8am, which meant had to leave Somerset West at 6.30am at the latest. We had to wake up at 5.30am every day and would often only leave campus at 5pm.

Was it worth the early mornings and long days? Without a doubt.

With 4-5 of us in a car, it meant that we would be spending roughly R20 per day on travelling. That's R100 per week, and R400 per month. Currently, you can expect to pay up to R3000 per month on renting any flat in Stellenbosch - a price that most South African students could never afford.

Carpooling is the best, most economical and environmentally friendly way for students to afford long distance commuting.

Carpooling also allowed me to spend less money on petrol and accommodation, which allowed me to save up to buy a car. Now, although I don't travel to campus with quite so many other people, I still offer all my friends lifts to and from campus so we can all save money and reduce the use of petrol.

Many first year students are actually unaware of how cheap and efficient it is to travel via carpooling.

- Justin

I save 75% on my fuel costs

Living in the Cape Town City Bowl, I commute 20 minutes each morning through to my office.

I found 3 other guys that live in or close to town and together we commute to work each morning, leaving at 7:15.

By simply rotating 1 week on, 3 off, I save 75% on my fuel costs. It also means I made closer friends at work, and I’m always in early.

Carpooling is fantastic!

- Matt

My quiet daughter has found a very kind friend

We had a decently full station wagon with 4 children for the school run, before we added another learner from my eldest (18yrs) daughter’s class.

Before we started giving her a lift, my daughter didn't really speak to anyone.

Now my quiet daughter has found a very kind friend, who has introduced her to even more friend. She visits these new friends when she needs a break from the busyness at home. We often lift 2 or 3 extra friends back from school, it's a good thing we have a station wagon!

I am glad that I can help in this way. Now there are less cars on the road, less petrol being used and more human connections happening.

- Miranda

If at first you don’t succeed, try again

In 2010 we moved from Port Elizabeth and decided to settle in Somerset West. Our first attempt at carpooling was through Findalift.co.za.

The gentleman we drove with had one non-working headlight that he did not fix and we drove the whole winter month with one headlight. He would also leave us waiting for hours for him with no message. This carpool did not work out.

A week later I was in the parking garage at work and I walked past a car with a CFM (Somerset West) number plate. I wrote a note, enquiring if the person would be interested in a lift club and left my number. I received a reply and now we are in a liftclub.

There are mornings of laughter and stories from the weekend and sometimes just comfortable silence. When the N2 is backed up, we can try different unknown routes because there is more than one person in the car and there is always someone to manage the GPS.

When you find a carpool buddy, life becomes less lonely on the road; you save petrol, wear and tear on your car and you get to be a bit greener.

- Lara