Blogging Through Team Allegro's Carpool Adventures

Carpool Log: Friday, July 25, 2008 -- It's Been Fun


First we would like to say it's been fun participating in the Car Pooling online info transfer. We hope by doing this other interested parties will see how much fun it can be and get together and start their own car pool groups. Not to mention how much money you can save.

All of the Allegro team is registered with the MassRIDES program, which is the Massachusetts Travel Options service, providing information and assistance to employers, communities, travelers, and commuters. This ride matching service is an online system that has over 13,000 registrants who live and/or work in Massachusetts. MassRIDES also offers the Emergency Ride Home program, assuring carpoolers that they will be able to return home quickly and safely in the event of a personal emergency via taxi or rental car.

Thanks from The Allegro Team:

Clarence Nichols: Principal R&D Engineer, 24 years with Allegro.

Larry Wood: Unix System Administrator, 24 years with Allegro.

John Pyle: IC Product Marketing Manager, 23 years with Allegro.

James McClay: EDA Section Head, 7 years with Allegro.


Carpool Log: Thursday, July 24, 2008 -- $1,400 New Pocket Cash, Intangible Benefits

By JOHN PYLE, Marketing Manager, Allegro MicroSystems

For all the selfish reasons I wanted to carpool. Also, with the recent gas prices I was concerned with meeting my monthly Budget. In the beginning I was unhappy with the thought of losing my freedom to come and go as I pleased. However, after joining this group a few weeks ago I have found the ride to be a kick, (Good Fun).

It's interesting that we don't discuss work issues often and even though there are no hard rules in the carpool, work related discussions are light. We have open discussion on any subject and make sure not to cross the line where personal feelings could be compromised.

However, this group works well because we are all thick skinned and can laugh at ourselves. The group seems to enjoy the ride and most days' we laugh for a good portion of the trip.

So, for all out there considering carpooling I recommend you remember this change in your life might be different, not good, and not bad. So, go with flow, relax, and enjoy the ride.

It can be all good when considering: Monetary Savings, Environmental Impact, Enjoy meeting new Co-Workers, Overall Safety improvements with fewer cars on the road, Performing a good neighbor community service, Carpooling requires a team effort. Team building is always helpful in the work environment.

In thirty years of driving to work I never carpooled thinking it would be too much of an inconvenience. I was wrong and wonder now how much money I threw away. Too late to look in the rear view mirror and I now plan to stay with this carpool for all the obvious reasons.


Carpool Log: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 -- $1,400 New Pocket Cash, Intangible Benefits

By JIM McCLAY, EDA Section-Head, Allegro MicroSystems

Up front, lets look at the numbers: Prior to joining the "car-pool bunch", a full week's work commute consisted of driving 220 miles at a cost of $45/week (21mpg @ $4.10/gallon). Subsequent to joining the "car-pool bunch," real-time driving decreased to 90 miles/week; accordingly, decreasing travel cost to $17/week (~63% reduction). So a quick yearly glance at savings (best-case), we are looking at $1400 of in pocket cash.

Looking at car maintenance (specifically tires, brakes, oil), the work commute is approximately 6,400 miles less per year (again best-case w/out vacation). In the car upkeep domain, it is difficult to correlate an exact cost savings. A first-order pass has tires changing every 40k miles (.16*$800=$128), brakes at every 40k miles (0.16*$600=$96), and oil change at every 3k miles (2*$25=$50). With those data points in hand, a total cost savings (travel + car maintenance) of $1674/year is achieved.

Lastly are the intangible benefits, which include the "car-pool bunch" and enjoyable "in-flight" entertainment. Each morning the commute initializes with the radio turned down low and a new topic of discussion; the dialogue can include past, current, and future events with limited boundaries. The conversations do not look to provide a solution but are more of "what are your thoughts on this topic". What is interesting is the way the initial dialogue is commonly linked or converges at the individual level. Out of this, generally an "entertaining" story will be shared, which results in laughter.

Car-pooling does come with procedures (e.g. specified meeting time, meeting place, leaving time, and front-seat privileges) that must be respected. The most difficult appears to be the group leaving-time with last minute issues popping up. Having said that, on a personal level the car-pool adventure has been and continues to be a positive experience on both the financial and entertainment fronts. More importantly is that we are doing "our" small part in decreasing gas consumption, which when combined with other "car-pool bunches" shall globally impact gas utilization.


Carpool Log: Monday, July 21, 2008 -- Carpooling by the Numbers

By CLARENCE NICHOLS, Technology Development Department, Allegro MicroSystems

Check out these tables in order to understand anything said in this entry whatsoever.

Tables A and B show how much fuel each of us consumed if we were traveling alone. Before June 1st, 2008, Larry traveled with Clarence, and after June 1st, 2008, Clarence drove to Larry's house and traveled into work with him. So during this period, the fuel Consumption per week was between 52.5 (Table B) to 60 (Table A) gallons.

Tables C and D show the savings in fuel when the four person car pool started. The amount of fuel used dropped to 19.5 / 32 gallons per week, depending on whether Clarence drove his truck or motorcycle to Larry's house. The carpooling resulted in a fuel savings of 39% to 63% as compared to Table B. This gave us a net savings in fuel usage of 20.5 to 32 gallons, which results in a cost savings of $207.00 to $304.00 per week.


Carpool Log: Sunday, July 20, 2008 -- The Evolution of a Carpool

By LARRY WOOD, Unix Systems Administrator, Allegro MicroSystems

Practically for as long as I've been working at Allegro Microsystems -- 24 years -- I've been carpooling with one person or another. This was mostly out of necessity, not specifically to save money on gas.

I'm married and have five children -- now mostly grown up. But during practically all of this time, I've only owned one car and my wife needed it more than I did. So when I moved to Putnam, Conn., I was very fortunate to connect with Clarence Nichols. He practically drove right by my house every day, and because he didn't have to go very far out of his way he didn't take any money for gas.

Well with the purchase of a second car back in April and the price of gas rising the way it has in the last year, I decided it was time for Clarence to enjoy some savings for a change.

He still had to drive to my house which was about half way to work but with his pickup truck, even half the gas meant significant savings for him. Only a short time after I started driving, Jim McClay started asking if he could ride with us. I do not know why it didn't happen right away but it didn't.

A former associate, John Pyle, came back to work at Allegro and started to look for people to carpool with. John drives a Ford Explorer SUV and was spending a considerable amount on gas each week. Well needless to say, we finally did agree to give the four man car pool a try and it has worked out very well for us. We're all saving money and we get to work with a smile on our face because of the great conversation we engage in.