This 5 part blog series is about TMACC’s Manager of Member Services, Shannon Maria Jones, navigating through the next 4 weeks car free.
Not everyone likes talking to strangers. I get it, sharing a car and a commute with someone you don’t know can be intimidating. But what happens when you bite the bullet and climb into the passenger seat of someone else’s car for your regular commute?
Enter Sam. He’s the lucky intern with whom I shared rides this week. Sam and I hadn’t met before our Share-a-Ride challenge started, all we did was exchange a few emails, and we knew that we both have Gettysburg College in common. That seemed fair as often your carpool buddy works at the same place, so again, you have something in common before you begin.
The biggest lesson up front is relinquishing control. Sam did all of the driving and I focused on navigating. Sure, sometimes we might be going a different speed than I would have, or he might not have spotted the traffic backing up in the places that I know get tricky because I drive these roads every day. But you know what? We were safe the whole time. No accidents. No tickets. I consider that a victory.
Due to the nature of our arrangement it wasn’t just commuting to and from work, we also went together to Chamber events and some afterhours work events. We learned quickly that we had plenty to talk about! Just the first morning we were excitedly discussing craft beer, vacations, and our favorite summer jobs. At the end of each day we’d often talk about the events of the day, or plug in Pandora for some country music- something else we learned we had in common.
Similar to my public transit commuting I found that my stress level was lower. It took about the same amount of time as driving myself but I wasn’t focused on the traffic, the other drivers, or listening to radio ads which just feel like clutter to me. Sometimes we’d talk and other times we’d just listen to music. I can see how a great friendship could easily grow if you spend any length of time commuting with someone.
Want to try Share-a-Ride for yourself? There are seven Park and Ride lots in Chester County where you can meet up with coworkers and park for free. Check here for one near you. If you don’t know of anyone at work who lives near you, TMACC can help you find someone thanks to our Share-a-Ride database.
Carpooling- I liked it. But admittedly (and a little unexpectedly) I miss my morning bike rides. I’ll be excited to get back in the swing of those – and my one work from home day – starting next week.
Shannon Maria Jones is TMACC’s Manager of Member Services. She’s a resident of West Sadsbury Township, Chester County where she lives with her husband Jasen and their rescued dog, Sadie. An avid traveler, Shannon navigates public transit when overseas or in urban areas, but has rarely used public transportation as part of her daily commute. Slightly obsessed with “Super Size Me” and Morgan Spurlock’s series “30 Days” she is perhaps too excited about what this challenge will bring in terms of personal growth.
If you would like to re-publish this blog, or ask Shannon any questions about her commute please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.