Shared Modes include carpooling, taking the yellow school bus, or taking public transit. Shared modes are a great option for students who live farther from school.
Carpooling is when two or more people who live in different households share a vehicle, saving time and money. Not only does it reduce congestion at school loading zones, but it’s also a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors!
There are several tools to help organize your local school carpool, aka “schoolpool”, such as using the SchoolPool Guidebook by Spare the Air Youth, the SchoolPool Guide developed by Marin County Safe Routes to Schools, or adopting a convenient smartphone app.
New technologies can help you organize your carpool! We suggest doing research to find out which apps or websites are available in your area and may work best for your needs. For starters, try these ride matching tools to see which one works for your community:
Apps - | Cozi | RideAmigos | Luum | Waze Carpool
Web-based Ridematching - Carpool to School (secure schoolpool matching) | Zimride
Online tools and mobile applications can help match interested parents, but there is no replacement for one-on-one coordination. Begin by determining which families can carpool together: bring a large map to the meet and greet table at school events and ask interested families to mark where they live. Define neighborhoods of students who live nearby and identify a neighborhood captain who will manage logistics. This may change as new families join the school or others move on.
Once you’ve identified the group planning to carpool together, here are some steps to organizing:
Decide who is driving and how much space they have in their cars
Think about when and where each child will be picked up. Options include picking up each child at his/her home, meeting at the driver’s home, and meeting at other participants’ homes
Talk about what to do if a driver or student is sick, if a child is late and misses the carpool, or a child unexpectedly brings a friend, and what to do if an emergency arises
Yellow School Buses
Many schools offer yellow school buses that transport students between home, school, or other school-related activities. Yellow school buses contribute to Safe Routes to School by reducing traffic congestion near schools, and providing a safe, affordable, and clean transportation option within the community. Safe Routes to School programming can help to promote the yellow school bus and connect families to the information and resources they need to ride the bus. Some school districts do not provide yellow school buses. If that is the case, public transit may be a good alternative.
Taking public transit to school can be a good option for students who live too far to walk or bicycle, or who don’t have the option of riding a yellow school bus. Plan your route ahead of time and learn about tips to practice good transit riding. Check out the links below to get more information on riding the bus, schedules, and fares.
Before a bus trip, review Spare the Air Youth's Riding the Bus Etiquette and Taking Your Bike on the Bus Etiquette for helpful tips for a smooth ride.
Plan the Route
511.org allows you to enter your origin and destination in the transit planner and discover useful trip information for 22 systems in the Bay Area. Use it to obtain multimodal travel all over the Bay Area.
Clipper is an all-in-one transit card that coordinates passes and values that you load onto it, while applying applicable fares, discounts and transfer rules. Clipper can be used to ride any participating transit system. Youths aged 5 and older are eligible for a free Youth Clipper card. With a Youth Clipper card, you can receive discounts on passes, cash value fares and transfers. Visit the Clipper Website to view agencies linked with Clipper and learn about routes, schedules and fares:
The maximum age to qualify for discounted fares varies by transit agency. Call 511 or check with your local transit provider for more information. Agencies that offer youth discounts include: