car sharing New Zealand
car sharing New Zealand

A Guide to Carpooling, Car Sharing & Ride Sharing in New Zealand

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What You Need to Know About Carpooling/Ride Sharing/Car Sharing in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country you will want to get around… A lot! There are epic activities and mind-blowing landscapes spread far and wide, so figuring out a way to get around is an essential part of the New Zealand experience. However, when you start totalling up the cost of fuel, bus tickets and bus tours, for example, you’ll see that travelling around New Zealand isn’t exactly cheap. But have you considered carpooling? It’s not only a cheap way to get around New Zealand, but it’s also pretty darn fun.

While the concept of carpooling (also called car sharing, ride sharing and lift sharing) has been around for years, it’s really gaining some traction in New Zealand. Maybe it’s to reduce the number of cars on the road, as New Zealand cities like Auckland and Wellington were ranked the 22nd and 24th most congested cities in the world? Or maybe it’s because more and more people are looking for more ways to reduce their carbon footprint and keep New Zealand looking beautiful? Whatever the reason, we’ll dive deeper into what carpooling or car sharing in New Zealand is all about in this guide.

What is Carpooling?

Carpooling, otherwise known as ride-sharing, lift-sharing or car sharing, is sharing car journeys so that more than one person is in a car. Instead of several people using multiple vehicles to get to the same destination, they “pool” together in the same car.

There are carpooling opportunities in New Zealand for both people with a vehicle looking for passengers and passengers looking for “rides”. Commonly, the passengers contribute a small fee to the driver to cover fuel costs for the journey.

Carpooling is also gaining more traction in New Zealand for short commuter trips, as well as longer journeys between cities making it a great option for seeing the country.

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The Fun Way to Get Around New Zealand

So let’s get to it, why exactly is carpooling the “fun way to get around New Zealand”?

Carpooling is a super social experience! It’s a great way to enhance the human aspect of your travels, giving you an opportunity to meet locals and fellow travellers alike.

The Car Sharing Experience for Drivers

For drivers who have bought their own car or camper to explore New Zealand, we all know it’s the least social way to travel compared to taking buses or tours. However, with carpooling, it doesn’t have to be that way! Invite others to join you on the road and, who knows, you might just find your next best travel buddy.

The Car Sharing Experience for Passengers

For passengers, you have the opportunity to meet a whole range of interesting people yet like-minded enough to use this fun and cheap way to get around New Zealand. Families, small groups of friends, couples, solo travellers, locals from all over New Zealand, travellers from all over the world… they all use car sharing. On top of that, it frees you up time from driving yourself! Start planning the next leg of your trip, for instance!

For more ways to meet people on your travels, take a look at 10 Ways to Meet People When Travelling Alone in New Zealand.

Carpooling: A Fun (and Cheap) Way to Get Around New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com

The Cheap Way to Get Around New Zealand

How you save money with carpooling doesn’t take much explaining. Everyone in the vehicle benefits from lower fuel costs and splitting the cost of toll roads, the ferry crossing and parking if any of those apply to your journey. Plus, it almost always works out much cheaper than taking public transport.

In the long run, by reducing the amount of traffic on the roads carpooling reduces costs toward new roads and road maintenance. For people with a vehicle opting for carpooling options, this means your using your own vehicle less, therefore, reducing the likelihood of car repairs from everyday wear and tear or accidental damage.

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More Reasons to Try Car Sharing in New Zealand

There are many other reasons to consider car sharing as a way of getting around New Zealand.

Eco-Friendly Travel

If there was ever a country to inspire us to be more eco-friendly, it has to be New Zealand. Carpooling is definitely a way to help preserve the environment by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, therefore, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution. Check out more ways to be an eco-friendly traveller in the 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in New Zealand.

Easy to Plan

With carpooling websites and Facebook groups cropping up, it’s getting easier and easier to plan your travel through carpooling. Unlike other forms of ride-sharing, like hitchhiking, you can actually make a plan with drivers and passengers where you know where you’re starting and finishing your journey and how long it will take.

Get to More Places

As you may know, public transport in New Zealand is limited in comparison to other developed countries. Carpooling can take you to so many places, not just a few on the standard bus route.

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Is Carpooling Safe?

Letting a stranger into your car or getting into a car with a stranger is bound to make some people uneasy. However, there are more and more ways to reduce the “risk” involved with carpooling websites that have features like a driver and passenger rating system, “ladies-only” rides, and mobile and email verification.

If you’re using other methods of finding carpools, such as through Facebook Groups or notice boards, try to organise carpooling with multiple people, rather than just one passenger. It’s safer to travel in groups.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

5 Ways to Start Car Sharing in New Zealand

Ok, carpooling sounds great but how do you get started?! Well, there are a few ways to start car sharing in New Zealand:

1. Facebook Groups

There are Facebook Groups for most towns in New Zealand, which is a good place to post your rideshare for commutes or short trips. For longer trips, try the “Backpacking New Zealand” Facebook Groups – we mention some in The Best Backpacker Facebook Groups to Join in New Zealand.

2. Carpooling Websites

There are a variety of car sharing websites available for New Zealand, such as coseats.co.nz, shareyourride.net and cityhop.co.nz.

3. Carpooling Apps

Similar to carpooling websites, there are carpooling apps for your phone. Some popular ones for New Zealand are the Link Car Sharing App, Mevo and Thumbs Up. Check out more apps for a New Zealand road trip in the 14 Best Travel Apps for New Zealand.

4. Ask People

Crazy isn’t it? But ask your workmates, friends at the gym, your housemates, or any place where you meet people regularly to carpool together!

5. Supermarket Notice Boards

It’s pretty old-school but supermarket noticeboards are widely used in New Zealand. It’s a free way to post your carpooling opportunity. Don’t forget to leave your contact details. Learn about getting a New Zealand phone number in The Best Cellphone Networks in New Zealand.

More About Car Sharing in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide to carpooling, car sharing, lift sharing and ride sharing in New Zealand! For alternative cheap and sustainable travel choices, check out the advice in these guides:

Finally, for more ways to get around New Zealand by car, head to Travel by Car: How to Plan a Road Trip in New Zealand.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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