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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the 511NY Rideshare Program?

What is the 511NY Rideshare Program?

511NY Rideshare is New York's home for free ridematching programs and traveler services, providing a wealth of information for anyone who wants more enhanced commute and travel options. 511NY Rideshare offers a suite of programs and services such as ridematching for carpools and vanpools, a Guaranteed Ride Program (where applicable), and informational resources for transit services, bicycling, walking, teleworking and other options.

Does it cost anything to use 511NY Rideshare's services?

No, all of 511NY Rideshare's services are free.

How do employers use 511NY Rideshare's services?

511NY Rideshare provides resources to help employers set up commuter benefit programs to provide smarter, more efficient choices for greater employee mobility. Visit the Employer section for more information on the benefits and grant opportunities from setting up these programs.

What is the 511NY Rideshare System?

What is 511NY Rideshare System?

The ridematching system is a free online tool that commuters, travelers and employers can use to find other travelers to share a ride. The ridematching system matches travelers based on similar trips as defined by users' preferences. The ridematching system can find you a carpool, vanpool or a bike buddy along a specified route or in an area of your origin or destination. It also will map your route and show you where Park & Ride locations and other landmarks are along the way.

How does the system work to match me with a ride?

The system uses the travel preferences entered and will generate a profile for you in the database. It will then search the database for other travelers with similar start and destination locations and travel times to you in order to create your match list. You will only match with other riders who have similar preferences, such as driver/passenger roles, to the ones you entered.

When other travelers are searching for matches and your travel preferences matches theirs, you will be included in their ridematch list.

How do I run a ridematch?

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After logging into the system, go to Find Ridematches and run either a radius-based match or a route-based match. Select the preferences when prompted and click Find Matches.


What is the difference between radius-based matching and route-based matching?

Radius-based matching selects matches based on the distance around your starting and destination addresses.

What do I need to do if I get matches?

We recommend you contact the travelers listed and tell them you matched through 511NY Rideshare. If your matches shared their e-mail address or phone number, you may contact them yourself. If your matches did not share their contact information, you may contact your matches through the ridematching system's automated e-mail system.

If you are having difficulty setting up a carpool after contacting the people on your match list, contact us to be connected to one of our customer service representatives and we can help. People are adding their names to the system daily - your perfect match could be just a click away.


What is the Match List?

The Match List displays all the same matches shown on the map feature. It provides the contact information, if the match has opted to share it, but also shows the match's start and destination city, state, and zip code; work schedule; carpool and vanpool preferences; and any other additional preferences.

If a match has opted to share his e-mail address, you can click on the e-mail address to send that match an e-mail through your default e-mail server.

What if the system did not find any matches for me?

If we do not currently have a match for potential carpool, vanpool, bike buddy or transit assistance for you in our database, you still have options:

  • Travelers often find alternatives when they expand their database search to include a wider geographic area or different routes.
  • You could go to a Park & Ride lot near your commute route for your rideshare starting point.
  • We are constantly adding new travelers to our system users; you should return to the site periodically and try running your matches again, since there will be a constant flow of new registrations.
  • We would be happy to supply you with "Carpoolers Wanted" flyers that you can use to post at or near your origin or destination.

Can my employees join on their own, without going through their employer?

Yes, they can.

How do I register for the ridematching system?

How do I register for the ridematching system?

Go to the home page and click on the map to get to your regional system to register in the ridematching system.

What if I don't have a car?

If you don't have a car, you can register to be a passenger in a carpool or vanpool. Also, you can use the ridematching system to log your commutes or find bike buddies for your bike trips.

Do I have to provide my e-mail address and telephone number?

In order to register for online ridematching, you must enter your e-mail address. You do not need to enter your phone number. Our system provides the option to share or hide your e-mail address or phone number. However, sharing your e-mail and/or your phone number up-front with potential matches may expedite communication.

You can set your privacy settings for your e-mail address and your phone number during registration or under the Edit Profile page. If you are comfortable sharing your e-mail address and/or your phone number, this information will be displayed on the match list for others to contact you quickly to discuss ridematching opportunities.

What if I don't have an e-mail address?

You can still register in the system and we can help you run ridematches. Contact us and get connected to one of our customer service representatives and we will enter you into the system and run a ridematch for you. You will then receive your ridematch results in the mail, with instructions on how to contact your ridematches.

If I do not share my e-mail address or phone number, can another user still contact me if I match with them?

If you do not share your e-mail address or phone number, a user who wishes to contact you will do so through the ridematching system. They will use the system to send an e-mail to you, but they will not see your e-mail address until you reply.

Why does 511NY Rideshare's ridematching system require a full home address and destination address during registration?

We use high-precision algorithms to match your route and present you with the best match for your trip based on your start and destination addresses and your route.

Will my home address or destination address be shared with other users?

We only list the city, state, and zip code associated with your addresses and this partial address only appears as a pinpointed bubble on the map when a searching user finds your trip as a match. We will never share your home address or destination address with other users.

I registered online – but I did not receive an activation e-mail yet from 511NY Rideshare. What could be wrong?

Please check your spam or junk mail folders and ensure the e-mail did not get delivered there. Although 511NY Rideshare delivers almost instantaneously, sometimes there may be a delay. If you've waited for over 4 hours, please email Info@511NYRideshare.org to be connected to a customer service representative.

If I have been using the ridematching system without an e-mail address but have recently acquired an e-mail address, may I use it for my account?

Yes, please contact us to be connected to one of our customer service representatives and we will set up the account with your e-mail address.

What if I would like to unsubscribe from the ridematching system?

If you decide that you do not wish to participate in the 511NY Rideshare ridematching system, please log in to your account, choose Edit Profile and select the "Opt Out" button. You will be required to complete a short exit survey before you can unsubscribe.

If you use a ridematching system provided by a non-NYSDOT vendor, please contact that ridematching system's provider to unsubscribe.

I'm already registered but I forgot my password. How do I retrieve my password?

Click on "Forgot Password? Click Here!" You will be prompted to enter your registered e-mail address to receive a temporary password. You can log in with the temporary password and then change your password in the Edit Profile page.

How do I change my address in the system?

You can change any personal information, except your e-mail address, on the Edit Profile page at any time. If you would like to change your e-mail address, contact us to be connected to one of our customer service representatives.

My Employer/School information has changed since I registered. How do I change it in the system?

Go to the My Profile page – Commute Information and click Edit. You can change the information by typing the first few letters (3 characters minimum to start) in the Employer/School Name field to automatically retrieve a list of Employer/School names with that character string included. Select the appropriate Employer/School from the list. Please note that some Employer/School names will have multiple address; make sure you choose the one with the correct address for you.

If your Employer/School does not appear, enter the full Employer/School name and all the required address fields and save your profile changes.

How does the system work to match me with a ride?

How does the system work to match me with a ride?

The system uses the travel preferences entered and will generate a profile for you in the database. It will then search the database for other travelers with similar start and destination locations and travel times to you in order to create your match list. You will only match with other riders who have similar preferences, such as driver/passenger roles, to the ones you entered.

When other travelers are searching for matches and your travel preferences matches theirs, you will be included in their ridematch list.

How do I run a ridematch?

After logging into the system, go to Find Ridematches and run either a radius-based match or a route-based match. Select the preferences when prompted and click Find Matches.

What if I don't have a car?

If you don't have a car, you can register to be a passenger in a carpool or vanpool. Also, you can use the ridematching system to log your commutes or find bike buddies for your bike trips.

What is the Match List?

The Match List displays all the same matches shown on the map feature. It provides the contact information, if the match has opted to share it, but also shows the match's start and destination city, state, and zip code; work schedule; carpool and vanpool preferences; and any other additional preferences.

If a match has opted to share his e-mail address, you can click on the e-mail address to send that match an e-mail through your default e-mail server.

What do I need to do if I get matches?

We recommend you contact the travelers listed and tell them you matched through 511NY Rideshare. If your matches shared their e-mail address or phone number, you may contact them yourself. If your matches did not share their contact information, you may contact your matches through the ridematching system's automated e-mail system.

If you are having difficulty setting up a carpool after contacting the people on your match list, contact us to be connected to one of our customer service representatives and we can help. People are adding their names to the system daily - your perfect match could be just a click away.

I want to e-mail several matches at once. Can I do that?

The Ridematching system has an E-mail Matches feature, where you can send an e-mail to several matches through the system. The system automatically retrieves a distribution list with all your matches and you can select which travelers you would like to contact.

The E-mail Matches feature is also how you would contact someone who did not share any contact information.

I received a long list of ridematches. Do you recommend that I contact all of them or just a few travelers?

This is entirely up to you and may depend upon the number of matches you receive. We suggest initially contacting at least five travelers and go from there.

What if the system did not find any matches for me?

If we do not currently have a match for potential carpool, vanpool, bike buddy or transit assistance for you in our database, you still have options:

  • Travelers often find alternatives when they expand their database search to include a wider geographic area or different routes.
  • You could go to a Park & Ride lot near your commute route for your rideshare starting point.
  • We are constantly adding new travelers to our system users; you should return to the site periodically and try running your matches again, since there will be a constant flow of new registrations.
  • We would be happy to supply you with "Carpoolers Wanted" flyers that you can use to post at or near your origin or destination.

Can my employees join on their own, without going through their employer?

Yes, they can.

How do I use the map feature?

How do I use the map feature?

After you run a ridematch, you will see a map showing your start and destination locations as green balloons labeled A and B, respectively. You will also see purple and blue icons with numbers – each number will have one purple and one blue corresponding icon. The purple icons indicate the start locations of your matches and the blue icons indicate the destination locations of your matches. The numbers on the icons correspond with the numbered matches to the right of the screen.

You can click on any purple or blue icon for a pop-up bubble with that match's contact information, if they share it publically.

If a match has opted to share his e-mail address, you can click on the e-mail address to send that match an e-mail through your default e-mail server.

What is the difference between radius-based matching and route-based matching?

Radius-based matching selects matches based on the distance around your starting and destination addresses.

What is a bike buddy?

What is a bike buddy?

If you travel by bicycle, we can match you with another person who also travels by bicycle on a route similar to yours.

What are the benefits of biking with a buddy?

There are many benefits to biking with a buddy, including the opportunity to bike with a more experienced rider, reduced stress, improved health and the added safety of riding with another person.

What are some tips for ridesharing etiquette?

What are some tips for ridesharing etiquette?

Call potential carpool partners and discuss logistical arrangements such as pickup time, location and driving safety. We suggest you may want to meet in a public location first to get to know each other and set ground rules, i.e. choice of radio stations and whether smoking and eating are allowed in the car, etc. This helps establish a good rapport with your fellow traveler and may allay any concerns you may have.

Does it cost anything to use 511NY Rideshare System?

Does it cost anything to use 511NY Rideshare System?

511NY Rideshare system is a free ridematching service of the New York State Department of Transportation. The 511NY Rideshare System can find you a carpool, vanpool or a bike buddy along a specified route or in an area of your origin or destination.

Will my personal information be secure?

Yes, only the contact information you agree to share in your profile will be seen by others who fit your ridematch criteria. Your information will never be shared with a third party.

Carpool FAQs

Q. What is ridesharing, and why should I do it?
A. Sharing a ride with other commuters or travelers—in a carpool, vanpool, bus or train—is known as ridesharing. The benefits of ridesharing include reduced travel costs, less wear and tear on your vehicle, a less stressful trip and helping your community by reducing both traffic congestion and air pollution.

Q. What is carpooling?
A. A carpool is two or more travelers or commuters sharing a ride. It is simple to set up and flexible. You do not have to carpool every day but as often as your schedule allows. To join a carpool, register for ridematching.

Q. How does carpooling work?
A. Carpools are based on sharing travel expenses. Carpoolers may either use one driver and share expenses or rotate driving duties and eliminate the need for money to change hands. To join a carpool, register for ridematching

Q. How much time will I save if I drive in the HOV lanes?
A. The average estimate is that you can shave up to 20 minutes off of your trip—each way—if you drive in the HOV lanes.

Q. If I were to join a carpool, would I be committing to the carpool 5 days a week?
A. Absolutely not. You decide how many days during the week you want to drive with your carpool partner(s). As long as it works for you and your carpool partner(s), that's all that matters. 

Q. What if I need my car for personal appointments or errands?
A. Plan these activities on specific days and rideshare the rest of the time.

Q. What if my schedule is irregular? 
A. Those with irregular schedules are better candidates for carpooling than vanpooling. Even if there is just one day a week where you travel during more regular hours, you could arrange a carpool for that particular day. More people are working flexible hours, so you might be able to match up with someone in a situation similar to your own.

Q. What if I need my car during the day?
A. Be the designated driver of your carpool and drive every day. Share the expenses with your rider(s).

Q. What if I need to take my child to daycare? 
A. Try making the daycare center the meeting place for your carpool. Or meet at a centralized location, such as a Park & Ride lot.

Q. What happens if the driver of my carpool has to work overtime and cannot drive me to my destination? What if my child gets sick at school, and I have to leave work unexpectedly? How will I get to her/him?
A. The rideshare program in your region may offer a Guaranteed Ride Program. Go back to the home page and click on your region's rideshare program to find out if you qualify to participate in a Guaranteed Ride Program.

Q. How much does it cost to be part of a carpool?
A. The participants in the carpool determine the costs and details of the carpool. Some carpools rotate driving responsibility and bypass the exchange of money entirely. Others have one driver and one or more passengers who split the costs equally. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 2015 standard mileage rate for business miles is 57.5 cents per mile, which you can divide among the passengers.

Q. How can I find a carpool?
A. To find a carpool, register for ridematching or call 511 and say "Rideshare."

Vanpool FAQs

Q. What is vanpooling?
A. A vanpool comprises 7–15 commuters who want to save money, to reduce stress and to help preserve the environment by commuting to and from work in a van. Vanpooling is the least expensive way of commuting when travelling long distances—at least 30 miles roundtrip.
 

Q. How does vanpooling work?
A. The van is owned or leased by a vanpool participant or an employer, or contracted on a month-to-month basis from a third-party vendor. One member of the vanpool volunteers to drive, while riders share the cost of operating the vanpool. In most cases, the driver rides free and has personal use of the van during the evenings and on weekends. The other participants pay a low monthly fare. For more information on the different types of vanpool arrangements, call 511 and say "Rideshare."

Q. Are there any carpools or vanpools coming from my area?
A. Today, many people travel far distances to get where they need to go, so there is a high probability that there are others in your area who want to share a ride. When you enter the 511NY Rideshare ridematching system, you will be included in a database with thousands of other commuters and travelers interested in ridesharing. You will receive a matchlist with the names and phone numbers of the people with whom you are matched. Note that home addresses are never included on the matchlists, and it is your choice whether or not your phone numbers are included.

Q. How can I join a vanpool?
A. To find a vanpool, complete our online registration form or call 511 and say "Rideshare."

Q. What if my schedule is irregular?
A. Those with irregular schedules are better candidates for carpooling than vanpooling. Even if there is just one day a week when you travel during more regular hours, you could arrange a carpool for that particular day. More people have flexible hours, so you might be able to match up with someone in a situation similar to your own.

Q. What if I need a vehicle during the day?
A. Be the designated driver of your vanpool and drive every day.

Q. What if I need to take my child to daycare? 
A. Try making the daycare center the meeting place for your vanpool or meet at a centralized location, such as a Park & Ride lot.

Q. What if I need to leave work unexpectedly?
A. You may be eligible to participate in a Guaranteed Ride Program. A Guaranteed Ride Program is an "insurance policy" for ridesharing situations like these. For more information, call 511 and say "Rideshare."