Please e-mail the parking lot you are interested in and your application here 

Benefits of carpooling

Carpooling will save you money
Carpooling allows you to share the cost of gas and parking, cutting your expenses by nearly 50% or more; the more occupants in your carpool the more you save.  Carpooling is also socially economical.  Not only will you be saving, but you will also help reduce the costs we all pay towards the construction of new roads, road maintenance and air pollution related health costs. 

Carpooling is better for the environment
Having fewer cars on the road means reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and improved air quality.

It’s good for your health
According to Environment Canada, air pollution caused by vehicular travel is linked to a number of health concerns including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, allergies and neurological effects.  By carpooling, you help reduce these health risks for yourself and everyone else. Research also suggests that carpooling is less stressful than commuting alone. 

Carpooling is convenient
Carpooling provides commuting convenience comparable to driving alone, with less stress and with the added bonus of companionship while you’re commuting.  Carpooling partners establish their own unique rules that best meet the needs of their carpool.

Carpooling improves your commuting options
Carpooling offers a commuter option that may work better than other methods of transportation. Carpooling works best for people who live where transit service may be limited or non-existent and compared to other options, carpooling may better fit your schedule.

Make new friends
Carpooling is a great way to make new friends!

Back to top

Need more convincing? 

Did you know

  • Statistically, those who carpool report fewer sick days.
  • Those who commute by means other than a single-occupancy vehicle demonstrate lower levels of stress, higher morale, and lower blood pressure.
  • Carpooling is a great way to make new friends.

Go ahead, carpool! 
After all, there are several seats in a vehicle … why not use them?

Back to top

Carpool policy

1. Introduction
Parking Services is continuously working on introducing new incentives to improve alternative methods of transportation at the University of Waterloo.    

For many, carpooling is an easy alternative to driving alone, but for others it requires more effort.  Parking Services recognizes the contributions made by carpoolers and has created two incentive programs to encourage carpooling as a sustainable method of transportation. 

The carpool Emergency Ride Home and Preferential Parking incentive programs are offered to University of Waterloo faculty and staff.  To be eligible, carpoolers must register their carpool group with Parking Services and meet the criteria in section 3.

Carpooling is available to all faculty and staff who work university core hours; day shift Monday to Friday. The offering of carpool incentives are driven by two goals: as an environmentally conscious effort to lower greenhouse gasses and to ease pressure on parking capacity at the university.

2. Definition of carpool
For the purposes of its carpool policy, the University of Waterloo distinguishes between two types of carpooling: carpooling that is recognized (referred to here as “formal carpooling”) and carpooling that is not recognized (referred to here as “informal carpooling”).  The two should not be confused. 

Formal carpooling is a formal arrangement whereby several participants regularly commute together in one vehicle.  Participants may or may not reside in different households, often share commuting costs and occasionally take turns driving.  Carpoolers establish their own arrangements to suit the group.  Carpool groups who meet the eligibility requirements in section 3 may apply to be registered as a carpool group at the Parking Office.  Only groups that are registered will have access to both the Emergency Ride Home and Preferential Parking programs.  

Informal carpooling is a personal arrangement between a driver and one or more passengers.  Examples of informal carpooling include family members commuting together that have not met the requirements and/or registered as a formal carpool or someone offering an occasional ride to another person.  Such informal carpooling arrangements are not eligible for the Emergency Ride Home and Preferential Parking programs.

In this policy, references to carpooling and carpoolers mean “formal carpooling”, unless otherwise indicated.

3. Carpool group eligibility
To be eligible for the carpool Emergency Ride Home and Preferential Parking programs, carpool members must register as a carpool group with Parking Services (section 5 explains how to register).

3.1 For a carpool group to be formally recognized, it has to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must have a minimum of two months of active parking on campus prior to applying for a Carpool group
  • Carpool groups must always have a minimum of two active carpool members.
  • Members must commit to carpooling for a minimum of three consecutive months.
  • All members of a carpool group must live off-campus, beyond a three kilometre radius from the University of Waterloo.
  • No member can be registered in more than one carpool group at a time.
  • Carpoolers must be faculty or staff of the University of Waterloo.
  • The carpool group must choose a “carpool captain”.
  • Only the carpool captain can purchase a carpool permit from the University of Waterloo. 

The “carpool captain” is the person responsible for the carpool group, is the carpool permit holder and is responsible for all permit fees and violations.  This person is also the main contact with the Parking Office.   

Once a carpool group registration form has been completed (see section 5), the Parking Office will determine eligibility.  Please allow approximately ten business days for processing. 

Those participating in informal carpooling must register as a formal carpool group to have access to either the Emergency Ride Home or Preferential Parking program (see the definitions in section 2)

4. Registering a carpool group
Once carpoolers have found their carpool partners, they may register as a carpool group at the Parking Office.

To register your carpool group, the carpool captain must print and complete the carpool group and permit application form and forward it to the Parking Office by fax, e-mail or in person. The Parking Office will assess the group’s eligibility according to the criteria in section 3.  Allow ten business days for processing.  Carpool captains will be informed of the application decision via e-mail.


To qualify as a carpool group, staff or faculty, including spouses, living at the same address must have two separate parking accounts and be paying for two separate permits at the time of application.

5. Changes to carpool members

At any time members may be added, removed or replaced in a carpool group, provided new members meet all eligibility requirements set out in section 3. The Parking Office must be informed of new members in order for them to have access to these programs.

The carpool captain is responsible for informing the Parking Services of any changes made to the carpool group. 

6. Carpool permits
All carpool permits are issued by Parking Services and remain the property of the University of Waterloo.

A carpool permit is issued to the carpool captain only, who is responsible for the carpool permit fees. 

If necessary, members of a carpool group can register more than one vehicle with the Parking Office.  Vehicles must be family owned by members of the carpool group and only vehicles that have been registered may use the carpool permit. 

It is the responsibility of the carpool captain to ensure that the carpool permit is displayed in plain view in the vehicle when it is parked on campus.  Failure to clearly display the carpool permit may result in a parking infraction notice (see section 10).

Current University of Waterloo parking permit holders who are already carpooling but have not registered as a carpool group, and who meet the criteria set out in section 3, may register for a carpool permit. Their regular permit will simply be replaced with a carpool permit if all conditions set out in section 3 are met.

If the carpool collapses or members choose to cancel the carpool entirely all permit holders will return to their original lot prior to carpooling. 

All members of a newly formed carpool group must hold a regular parking permit. The carpool captain must apply for a parking permit identifying the preferred lot and three space choices within the lot.

If a carpool permit is lost or stolen, the carpool captain must immediately inform the Parking Office and complete the appropriate forms.  The carpool captain must then apply for a new carpool permit and pay the applicable replacement fees.

If on occasion a carpool member must use their own vehicle and will not be carpooling with the carpool group, they will have to purchase parking from a pay and display machine (at the regular rate) or from Parking Services at a discounted carpool rate.

7. Emergency Ride Home program
The carpool Emergency Ride Home program is just that; a ride home for carpoolers in case of an emergency.  For many potential carpoolers, this eliminates the fear of being “stranded” on campus if an emergency does occur.   

Carpool members who meet the eligibility criteria in section 3 and have registered as a carpool group may use the Emergency Ride Home program

A registered participant may use this program if:

  1. He/she or an immediate family member becomes ill or is involved in an emergency situation;
  2. The driver of the carpool group must leave (with the vehicle used by the group) due to his/her own illness or for an immediate family member emergency;
    If the driver of the carpool group must leave, we would hope that the carpool group will share the same taxi for the emergency ride home.
  3. He/she must work on campus for unscheduled emergency overtime;
  • The unscheduled overtime must result from an emergency;  and
  • The carpooler’s immediate supervisor must attest in writing to the “unscheduled overtime”, by informing the Parking Office by e-mail or by fax.

Note: The Parking Office may require proof that an emergency has actually occurred. It is the user’s responsibility to provide such proof.  Failure to do so may result in the user not being reimbursed (see details regarding reimbursement in section 7.7); and

Side trips are allowed on the way home provided they are related to the emergency in question (for example, picking up a sick child at daycare or school).

The following situations do not constitute an emergency under the Emergency Ride Home program:

  • Personal errands;
  • Scheduled appointments;
  • Scheduled overtime;
  • Work-related travel;
  • Emergencies not related to immediate family members; and
  • Taxi transport as a substitute for transport by ambulance.

Members of a registered carpool group who require a ride home in the event of an emergency under section 7.2 may call a taxi from a local company of their choice.

The University of Waterloo is not responsible for any losses, damage, injury or death suffered by any carpool member while using the Emergency Ride Home program.  Carpool users are free to use any taxi service of their choice and assume all related risks.

Each member of a carpool group may use the Emergency Ride Home program up to a maximum of 4 times per calendar year at $50 per use.

To obtain reimbursements, members must:

  1. Pay the taxi fare and request a receipt (tips are not covered);
  2. Complete the Emergency Ride Home Reimbursement form;
  3. Return the Emergency Ride Home Reimbursement form in person, within ten business days, to the Parking Office together with the original receipt.  Original receipts must be provided, otherwise reimbursement will be denied; and
  4. Reimbursement will be made by bank deposit, within ten business days of the date at which the request for reimbursement is received at the Parking Office.

The Parking Office may require further proof before issuing reimbursements or may refuse reimbursement if the emergency is deemed ineligible under section 7.2.

8. Preferential Parking program
Preferential parking refers to parking spaces reserved for carpoolers only.  Registered carpool groups will no longer have to look for a parking space.

Carpoolers that have registered as a carpool group with the Parking Office and received a carpool permit are entitled to use the Preferential Parking spaces.  Preferential Parking will be reserved and signed exclusively for carpoolers between 07:00 and 15:00 every weekday.  After 15:00, if these spaces are vacant, holders of regular parking permits for the lot in question can use them.

Carpool groups using Preferential Parking spaces must clearly display a valid carpool permit.  Unauthorized use of these spaces will result in a parking infraction notice (see section 10).

If ever all Preferential Parking spaces are being used by other carpool groups in a specific parking lot, the carpool permit may be used in a regular parking space in that same parking lot. Carpoolers must use the preferential parking spaces reserved in their designated lot only.

9. Termination or modification of a carpool group
The Parking Office must be notified when a carpool group is terminated or modified.

Any member of a carpool group can request to leave the group at any time and cancel his/her registration. 

For a carpool group to remain eligible in these programs, the carpool captain must replace any member who leaves, if the group is reduced to fewer than two members.  Substitutions are permitted at any time.  The Parking Office must be informed of new members in order for them to have access to these programs.

A carpool group may dissolve its entire carpool at any time.  However, if the carpool group dissolves before the three-month commitment period has expired, group members may not be guaranteed a parking permit or a permit in the lot of their choice. 

A dissolved carpool group must return its carpool permit to the Parking Office as it remains the property of the University of Waterloo. 

10. Enforcement
The Parking Office is responsible for enforcing this carpool policy.

Anyone who alters or fraudulently uses a University of Waterloo carpool parking permit, or makes fraudulent use of the Emergency Ride Home program or the Preferential Parking program, is subject to a parking infraction notice, towing of the vehicle in question at the owner’s expense and may lose his/her carpool and parking privileges.
Any one who knowingly makes a false reimbursement claim under the Emergency Ride Home program will not be reimbursed and will lose this privilege.

Warnings and parking infraction notices are issued to the vehicle in question.

Any vehicle parked in a Preferential Parking space between the hours of 0700 to 1500 hrs without a carpool permit may receive a parking infraction notice.

Any suspected misuse of these initiatives can be reported to the Parking Manager by e-mail.  All reports of misuse will be investigated thoroughly.

Back to top

Carpool incentive programs for university employees

Incentive #1 - Emergency Ride Home program

Always wanted to carpool but you fear being stranded on campus in the event of an emergency?  The Emergency Ride Home program provides registered members of an approved carpool group access to same day transportation in the event of an emergency, such as sickness or having to pick-up a sick child at school or daycare.  If you are interested in a different option, please look below.

Employees also have the option to use The Travel Wise Emergency Ride Home which also covers UW staff. The Travel Wise pass covers cycling, walking, transit, and carpooling and $75 per trip, 4 times per year. Travel Wise handles all administration of the program.  Please click here for more information and to sign up for this option.

Incentive #2 - Preferential Parking program

Tired of looking for a good parking spot?  If so, this program is for you!  Preferential parking is an identified parking space that has been “reserved” for the exclusive use of those registered in a carpool group.  Registered carpool groups will have a parking spot waiting for them every morning in the staff or faculty lot of their choice!

Incentive #3 – Help locating a fellow carpooler

In addition to the University of Waterloo carpool program, Parking Services can provide information regarding Travel Wise. Travel Wise provides a variety of programs and services to encourage commuters to try sustainable commuting options, and then supports their effort to walk, cycle, carpool, or take transit more often. For information on carpool partner near you, please join:

Back to top