Casual Carpooling -- With Strangers -- Booming In San Francisco
Every weekday, between 6:00 and 9:30 in the morning, a stream of cars and a line of pedestrian commuters converge at a Safeway supermarket in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, California. Without a single raised thumb, the individual passengers fill the empty seats in the waiting vehicles. Once a car has three people, it jumps onto the nearby Highway 24, bound for the Bay Bridge. Thirty minutes later, the Rockridge cars drop off their passengers in San Francisco. Once in the city, riders walk to work or hop on city buses. It's unregulated, efficient carpooling with total strangers.
There are pick-ups like the one in Rockridge at two-dozen East Bay locations, in neighborhoods as far reaching as Vallejo, Hercules, and Lafayette. They all share the same terminus: the intersection of Fremont and Mission streets in downtown San Francisco's central financial district.