Le Covoiturage in English means car sharing. In America it's known as carpooling or ride-sharing.
In France, covoiturage is very common, it is when more than one person travels in a car during a short or long journy. The French authorities actually encourage this practice because it is economic and ecologic.
By having more people using one vehicle, it reduces each person's travel costs such as fuel costs, tolls fees, and the stress of driving. It is considered as environmentally friendly and a sustainable way to travel because sharing journeys reduces the number of cars on French roads, carbon emissions and traffic congestion on the roads, it also reduces the need for parking spaces.
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A question on covoiturage actually popped up on the day of my code exams.
Let me explain exactly how it works. Covoiturage is when people, who work at the same office or do the same journey every day of the week, share rides together. So instead of each person taking his own car, only one person takes his car and the others share the ride with him. They either share the cost of fuel or each person takes turn tobe the driver for the day or for the week. Peoplewho don't have cars too can be involved in covoiturage, they simply have to pay the tarif that the owner of the car will charge; Friends, neighbours, colleagues or even strangers can come together to become covoiturage partners.
While I attended AFPA, I shared ride with my bestie Fabio. I didn't have my licence yet so every week, we took turns to fuel his car. Taking the bus or the train would have been cheaper but not faster. I also had to consider the fact that the bus lines and SNCF go on strikes a lot and are sometimes late. Also, the changing of means of transportation to get to my destination could leave me tired even before the day starts.
There are different sites for car owners to find people to share rides with during a short or even long distances. They are advertisement for rides for 8am each morning to a particular destination or for rides between cities. I will be going to Paris this June and I am thinking of using covoiturage. For the experience, maybe make new friends, sightsee (the last time I went to Paris by road from the South was in 2010).
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Covoiturage is supposed to be cheaper than taking the bus or train (but like I said when I used it, it was more expensive than taking the bus or train. We always use the express and pay about 6,20 euros as toll gate fee daily). I didn't add plane because flights are often cheaper than train here in France. I often go to Paris by plane (easy jet). I never pay more than 110 euros for aller-retour. Nice-Paris is about an hour 10.
By train it's longer (7/8 hours) and more expensive, you can save money if you buy your tickets long before you travel. I have been to Paris once by TVG, took me like 3 to 4 hours and I returned by night train, took me the whole night, I slept in the train. By road, it about 10 hours.
The best three covoiturage sites in France today are :
To read more about covoiturage in France, click here.