Carma Carpooling is running a pilot program exclusively with the Texas Department of Transportation, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to offer toll road benefits to carpoolers.
Launched in February 2014, Carma Austin is the world’s first use of real-time ridesharing technology to verify the vehicle occupancies for toll road rebates. In the first year, Carma gave over $2,250 in toll refunds to Austin residents driving the 183A and 290 (Manor Expressway) Toll Roads. Over 10,600 carpool trips were shared, and 172,000 pounds of CO2 emissions saved.
Today, Carma has expanded its toll benefits to the whole of the Austin-Round Rock metro! We are looking to partner agencies, companies, and neighborhoods to help spread the word to local residents. This program will be evaluated in June 2015 for continuation and has implications for long-term carpooler benefits for Central Texas and beyond.
Toll refunds on Austin-area toll roads
Available on the 183A Toll, 290 Toll (Manor Expressway), SH 130*, SH 45N, Loop 1, and 45SE when you carpool with the Carma app. *Excludes segments 5 and 6 of SH 130, south of 45 SE.
2-person carpools get 50 percent of the toll back, and 3+ person carpools get the FULL toll refunded to their Carma account, which they can cash out at any time or use towards future carpool rides.
How to register
Download the free Carma Carpooling app at carmacarpool.com. Register your TxTag – once you’ve set up a Carma profile, enter your TxTag and License Plate details to register for our program. Start Carmapooling! Click “Start Trip” every time you’re ready to carpool, and we’ll keep track of your toll road trips so we can reimburse you at the end of each month.
The positive impact
- Environmental: Carpooling promotes neighborhood sustainability through reduced CO2 emissions. Carma can provide mileage reporting for carpool participants.
- Quality of Life: Fight Austin’s traffic congestion and reduce commuting time. Be more productive while riding to work.
- Financial: reduced commuting costs, plus additional promotions and incentives by Carma.
Putting empty seats to good use
An estimated 877,000 greater Austin-area residents drive to work alone every day. That means more than 2.3 million empty car seats are available for Central Texas commuters most workdays. Carpooling is one of the quickest solutions to our traffic congestion, with no need for new infrastructure.
Is Carma carpooling safe?
Yes. Every Carma user registers and verifies their email address and phone number. Carma also keeps a record of every pickup and drop-off location. Our self-regulating user rating system allows the community to choose who the best drivers and riders are. Plus, if your employer or neighborhood has set up a “Group” within the app, you can join that group and easily carpool with people you know.
Of course, always take normal precautions when booking a ride, as you would when meeting someone for the first time. For example, meet in a public place or intersection and don’t give out your home address.