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26 March 2014

Jan Janssen on car pooling

"If you can be a little flexible, car pooling is ideal"

“We started originally with five colleagues from the Province of Limburg”, Janssen says. “The main reason being that we would receive compensation from our employer for car pooling. At some point during this process the compensation was no longer offered, however, we were so used to car pooling that we just continued on with it.”

Two cars

Janssen now drives daily with a pool of six people from Geleen, Beek and Neerbeek to Maastricht. Janssen: “Three of us have been part of the group from the very beginning. Then there are two new colleagues, plus the daughter of one of them, who works in Beatrixhaven. Due to the fact that there’s six of us, we travel with two cars. That way we’re also extra flexible: you choose which car you’d like to travel in, based on the time that you’d like to leave. If we have a meeting at 08:00 in the morning, then for example three of us will depart a little earlier. If some of us would like to head for home earlier, then we check which car suits us best. We arrange everything quite simply: via a WhatsApp group called ‘carpoolgroep’ that we made, so we can quickly and easily make arrangements together. 

Everyone in the car pool group lives in a radius of three kilometres from each other. We decide who is going to drive on a daily basis. The “fleet” varies from an Audi A6 to a Peugeot 107. Sometimes someone drives a few days in a row, but that doesn’t matter” says Janssen. “We’ve agreed to a fixed rate of €2.65 each way. One of us diligently records who owes who what.”


Janssen takes an average of 40 minutes to reach his workplace from Geleen. “The holdups are normally around the Geusselt stadium and the Beatrixhaven exit. If you take a look at the traffic around you, you see that almost everyone is sitting alone in their cars. When we travel together, we can take so many cars off the roads. That is also my main motivation to car pool: it’s good for the city’s accessibility. There’s also of course saving money, and helping the environment, however these aspects are not the main focus for me.”

After all these years of car pooling, Janssen and his colleagues are so used to it that they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Especially when your movements are not too restricted and there’s some flexibility in the arrangements; we’ve worked out a way to ensure all our car poolers find the arrangements suitable. People are sometimes reluctant to car pool because you give up your freedom. However, it’s no different to when you travel by train. My experience is, that you’re also more likely to develop a better relationship with your colleagues. It doesn’t feel like restraint to me. On the contrary. If you can be a little flexible, car pooling is ideal.”