Carpool Policy

The Parking and Sustainable Transportation Division (PSTD) is continuously working to encourage the use of alternative methods of transportation at the University of Ottawa.

For many, carpooling is an easy alternative to driving alone, but for others it requires more effort.  PSTD recognizes the contributions made by carpoolers and has created a Carpool Perks Program to encourage carpooling as a sustainable method of transportation. 

To be eligible for Carpool Perks, carpoolers must first register their Carpool Group with PSTD and meet the criteria in Section 3.

Definition of a Carpool

For the purposes of this Carpool Policy, the University 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”).  Carpool Groups are engaged in formal carpooling, and are registered with PSTD.

FORMAL CARPOOLING  is a formal arrangement whereby several participants regularly commute together in one vehicle.  Participants reside in at least two 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 register as a Carpool Group with PSTD.  Only groups that are registered will have access to Carpool Perks.  

INFORMAL CARPOOLING  is a personal arrangement between a driver and one or more passengers.  Examples of informal carpooling include family members commuting together or someone offering an occasional ride to another person.  Such informal carpooling arrangements are not eligible Carpool Perks.

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

Carpool Group Eligibility

To be eligible for Carpool Perks, carpool members must be registered as a Carpool Group with PSTD (Section 5 explains how to register).

For a Carpool Group to be formally recognized, it has to meet the following eligibility criteria:

A. Carpool Groups must always have a minimum of three active Members

i. Members must be faculty or support staff of the University of Ottawa; 
ii. Carpool Groups may include students or non-uOttawa employees; however these members do not count towards the three-person minimum and they are not eligible for Carpool Perks;
iii. Members must come from at least two separate households.

B. Members must commute together at least four days per week, excluding weekends;

C. Members must commit to carpooling for a minimum of three consecutive months;

D. All Members of a Carpool Group must live off-campus, beyond a five kilometre radius from the University of Ottawa;

E. No Member can be registered in more than one Carpool Group at a time;

F. The Carpool Group must choose a Carpool Captain;

G. The Carpool Captain is the only group member that may have a parking permit in his/her name. All other Members who have a uOttawa regular parking permit must return it for cancellation. Members may still hold a weekend or evening permit.

The Carpool Captain acts as the primary administrative point of contact between the Carpool Group and PSTD.

Once a Carpool Group registration form has been completed (see Section 5), the Sustainable Transportation Office will determine eligibility and contact the Group Captain within ten business days of receiving the application.

Only Carpool Groups registered with PSTD are eligible for Carpool Perks. Individual Carpool Group Members must be registered with PSTD for at least one month before becoming eligible for Carpool Perks such as Emergency Ride Home or Occasional Day Parking Reimbursement.

How to Find Carpool Partners

To help faculty and support staff members find suitable carpool partners, PSTD has subscribed to RideShark, a Web-based ride-matching system designed by professionals in the field of sustainable transportation.

The University of Ottawa ride-matching website can be found at www.uOttawaCarpool.ca. Only members of the University of Ottawa community may use this website, which can only be accessed using a University of Ottawa e-mail address.

Registering a Carpool Group

Once carpoolers have found their carpool partners, they may register as a Carpool Group with the PSTD office.

A. Each Carpool Group must choose a Carpool Captain. The Captain is PSTD’s administrative contact for the Carpool Group, and the Carpool Parking Permit will be registered under his/her name.

B. To register a Carpool Group, the Carpool Captain must print and complete the carpool group and permit application form (pdf) and forward it to PSTD by fax or in person. PSTD will assess the group’s eligibility according to the criteria in Section 3.  This process may take up to ten business days.  Carpool Captains will be informed of the application decision via e-mail.

C. At any time, members may be added, removed or replaced in a Carpool Group, provided the group and its new members continue to meet eligibility requirements set out in Section 3.  It is the Captain’s responsibility to inform PSTD of any change in membership within one month of the change (see Section 8).
i. New members will only become eligible for Carpool Perks after being registered for one month.

D. The Carpool Captain is responsible for informing PSTD of any changes made to the Carpool Group. Failure to inform PSTD of a change in a Carpool Group’s eligibility status (e.g. reduced to less than 3 qualifying members) will result in the Carpool Captain being permanently barred from the Carpool Program (see Section 8).

Carpool Permits

All Carpool Permits are issued by PSTD and remain the property of the University of Ottawa.

A. A Carpool Permit is issued to the Carpool Captain only; the Captain is responsible for paying the Carpool Permit fees. 

B. Each group may have more than one vehicle registered with PSTD for the Carpool Group.  Only vehicles that have been registered may use the Group’s Carpool Permit. 

C. It is the responsibility of the Carpool Group 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 9).

D. Current University of Ottawa 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 converted into a Carpool Permit, if all conditions set out in Section 3 are met.

E. If current regular permit holders would like to try carpooling for a few months without losing the option of returning to their previous parking arrangement, they can inform PSTD of their wish to do so.  If they meet the criteria set out in Section 3, they may suspend their regular parking permit for up to 3 months without loss of their current permit privileges. 

F. If no members of a newly formed Carpool Group hold a regular parking permit at the time of registering as a Carpool Group, the Carpool Captain must apply for a parking permit.  Carpool permits will be issued according to parking space availability on campus, although Carpool Groups may make a Priority Transfer Request (see Section 7.5).

G. If a Carpool Permit is lost or stolen, the Carpool Captain must immediately inform PSTD and complete the appropriate forms.  The Carpool Captain must then apply for a new Carpool Permit and pay the applicable fees.

H. If on occasion a carpool member must use his/her own vehicle and will not be carpooling with the Carpool Group, he/she will have to pay the daily parking rate. Each Carpool Group Member is entitled to a courtesy reimbursement of up to $17/day twice per academic session (see Section 7.3).

 
Carpool Perks

7.1 Emergency Ride Home Program
The Emergency Ride Home program offers a ride home for carpoolers in case of an emergency.  For many potential carpoolers, this eliminates the risk of being without a personal vehicle if a personal emergency occurs.   

A. Carpool members who meet the eligibility criteria in Section 3 and have registered as a Carpool Group may use the Emergency Ride Home program.

B. A registered participant may use this program if:

i. He/she or an immediate family member becomes ill or is involved in an emergency situation;

ii. 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;
Note: If the driver of the Carpool Group must leave, we would ask that the Carpool Group will share the same taxi and/or Uber for the emergency ride home when possible.

iii. He/she must work on campus for unscheduled emergency overtime. 
Note: The unscheduled overtime must result from an emergency; the Member’s immediate supervisor must attest in writing to the “unscheduled overtime,” by informing PSTD by email or by fax

C. 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).

Note:  PSTD 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 7.1.H).

D. The following situations are not eligible for reimbursement under the Emergency Ride Home program:

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

E. Members of a registered Carpool Group who require a ride home in the event of an emergency under Section 7.1.B may call a taxi and/or Uber from a local company of their choice.

F. The University of Ottawa 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 and/or Uber service of their choice, and assume all related risks.

G. Each member of a Carpool Group may use the Emergency Ride Home program a maximum of 4 times per year (May to April), and may be reimbursed up to $50 per use.

H. To obtain a reimbursement, members must:

i. Pay the taxi/Uber fare and request a receipt (tips are not covered)

ii. Complete the Carpool Perks Claim Form (pdf) form

iii.Return the Carpool Perks Claim Form in person within ten business days to PSTD, together with the original receipt.  Original receipts must be provided, otherwise reimbursement will be denied

I. Reimbursement will be made by deposit to employee’s bank account registered at uOttawa (like payroll deposit) within ten business days of the date at which the request for reimbursement is approved by PSTD.

Note: PSTD may require further proof before issuing reimbursements or may refuse reimbursement if the emergency is deemed ineligible under Section 7.1.D.

7.2 Preferential Parking Program
Preferential parking allows Carpool Groups to request a reserved parking space in the location where the Carpool Permit has been assigned.

A. Carpoolers that have registered as a Carpool Group with PSTD and received a Carpool Permit are entitled to a Preferential Parking space.  Preferential Parking will be reserved exclusively for the Carpool Group between 07:00 and 15:00 every weekday.  After 15:00, if the space is vacant, regular permit holders for the lot in question can use it.

B. A Carpool Group using a Preferential Parking space must clearly display a valid Carpool Permit.  Unauthorized use of Preferential Parking spaces will result in a parking infraction notice (see Section 9).

C. If ever all Preferential Parking spaces are being used in a specific parking lot, the Carpool Permit may be used in a regular parking space in that same parking lot. Carpoolers may only use the preferential parking spaces reserved in the lot or garage designated on their Carpool Permit.

7.3 Carpool Parking Rebate
As a reward for their commitment to carpooling, registered Carpool Groups will receive an annual reimbursement of the cost of up to one month’s parking permit.

A. In May of each year the Carpool Group Captain will be reimbursed up to the equivalent of the cost of one monthly Carpool Permit for the previous budget year (May to April).

i. E.g. if the group parked in Mann Garage for the entire year (May to April), the reimbursement would be the equivalent of the cost of one monthly parking permit in the Mann Garage.

ii. E.g. if the group parked in a garage from May to August (4 months of the year) and was transferred to an exterior lot from September to April (8 months of the year), the reimbursement would be the equivalent of 4/12th the cost of a monthly garage parking permit plus 8/12th the cost of a monthly exterior lot parking permit.

iii. If a group only became a Carpool Group part way through the year, their reimbursement would be pro-rated based on the number of months since they joined.

iv. A Carpool Group must have been registered prior to February 1st in order to receive a Carpool Parking Rebate for that budget year (May to April). This applies only if the group is still intact on April 30.

B. Only the Carpool Group Captain may collect the reimbursement; it is the Captain’s responsibility to ensure the equitable distribution of the proceeds within the group.

C. Reimbursement will be made by deposit to the Carpool Group Captain’s bank account registered at uOttawa (like payroll deposit).

D. The Group is eligible for Carpool Parking Rebate even if they don’t renew for another year and don’t continue to operate as a Carpool Group, as long as they have been a Carpool Group prior to February 1st.

E. All rebates will be issued in May, regardless of whether a Carpool Group dissolved prior to the end of the year.

Note: If the Carpool Group Captain does not inform PSTD within one month of the dissolution of the group in the course of the year, the Group Captain will be permanently barred from claiming Carpool Perks.

7.4 Occasional Day Permit Reimbursement

For Carpool Group members who occasionally need to park in a campus parking lot separately from their Group, PSTD will reimburse the cost of parking on a limited basis:

A. Each registered Group Member may claim up to two (2) reimbursements per academic session (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer);

B. A maximum of $17.00 will be reimbursed per claim;

C. The Group Member must pay for their parking and submit a claim (pdf) for reimbursement. No day passes or validations will be issued in advance;

D. In order to receive a reimbursement for the cost of parking, the Group Member must retain and submit original proof of payment and complete a Carpool Perks Claim Form within one month of the date being claimed;

E. PSTD staff will verify that the Group Member has not exceeded their limit for the session before issuing the reimbursement;

F. Reimbursement will be made by deposit to the Group Member’s bank account registered at uOttawa (like payroll deposit).

7.5 Priority transfer requests

Carpool Groups that wish to transfer to a different parking lot or garage will be placed at the top of the transfer list for their choice of parking location.

A. Transfers can only be made if space becomes available in the parking location requested;

B. Until the transfer has been complete, the Group must continue to park in the location specified on their permit;

C. Priority Transfer Requests will be ranked in the order that they are received. E.g. if another Carpool Group has already requested a transfer to the same lot, the first Group to make the request remains at the top of the list and the new Group will be the next to be transferred.

D. If a Carpool Group that has received a priority transfer disbands before the first anniversary of registering their group with PSTD, all members who wish to continue using uOttawa parking must re-apply for new permits in available lots. If such a group has been registered for more than a year when they disband, the Carpool Captain may retain the permit for the lot to which they were transferred.

Termination or Modification of a Carpool Group

PSTD must be notified immediately when a Carpool Group is terminated or modified (i.e. members added, removed or changed).

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

B. If the loss of a Member reduces the Carpool Group to fewer than three (3) qualifying Members, the departing Member must be either replaced by a new qualifying Member or the Group Captain must inform PSTD that the Group is no longer eligible as a registered Carpool Group. 

C. Group Member substitutions are permitted at any time without penalty.  PSTD must be informed of new members in order for them to have access to these programs.

Note: Only those who previously held a regular parking permit and had it suspended for a three-month period may leave their Carpool Group during the first three months without any loss of parking privileges.  See Section 6.E.

D. A dissolved Carpool Group must return its Carpool Permit to PSTD. 

Enforcement

PSTD is responsible for enforcing this Carpool Policy.

A. Anyone who alters or fraudulently uses a University of Ottawa Carpool Parking Permit, or makes fraudulent use of the Carpool Perks program, is subject to a parking infraction notice and may permanently lose his/her Carpool Perks and parking privileges.

B. Any individual who knowingly makes a false reimbursement claim under the Carpool Perks program will not be reimbursed and will lose Carpool Perks privileges.

C. Warnings and parking infraction notices are the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle displaying the Carpool Permit.

D. Any vehicle parked without a Carpool Permit in a Preferential Parking space may receive a parking infraction notice.

E. Any suspected misuse of the Carpool Program can be reported to PSTD at  park@uottawa.ca.  All reports of misuse will be investigated thoroughly.

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