What time does the casual carpool start and end?
It varies. The most popular spots -- North Berkeley, El Cerrito Del Norte, Vallejo -- are active well before 6 AM and well after 9 AM. For the other locations, you'll have to check. There certainly none after 10 AM - the carpool lane opens to other traffic at that time.
Is there a casual carpool location in _____?
I would like to start a new casual carpool pickup site. How can I do this?
It's not easy to get a site started. Generally, you need a place with good access to the freeway, with either parking available or a lot of people living nearby, and close transit service (for the afternoon return). We've seen some cases like this where a sign like "Carpools to SF here" -- and some patience -- has done the trick.
All the East Bay locations appear to have grown near transit locations. People can wait for a ride, and if they don't get one, no big deal, they'll take BART or the bus. It provides a fail-safe way for people to try it out, and for the volume to grow. Also, that's how riders will get home in the afternoon.
The other meeting location ingredients are: a place where cars can line up to wait for riders (without the police chasing them away); and either available parking for riders or a fair density of people living nearby who can walk to get a ride. The meeting location also needs to be either near the freeway or along a commute route so drivers don't have to go much out of their way to look for riders.
A good meeting location will also be close enough to a major thoroughfare so that lots of people will see a "carpools to SF" sign. We've had success just printing on regular paper and taping it together (point size 400 or so!) and then taping it vertically on a light pole (people can read sideways!).
The issue is getting to "critical mass." Perhaps someday we'll have enough experience and interested people that we can use a web-based version of casual carpooling as a way of coordinating rides without necessarily needing a physical location as a meeting spot. That is, why not meet in "cyberspace"? That, at any rate, was the idea behind Ride Now, which I pursued for a number of years and tried several times to implement — without success.
Does it cost money?
Tolls for car pools started July 1, 2010. As of this writing (July 2) it's not clear that a standard has evolved for sharing the toll. Riders can volunteer a dollar or so, and drivers can accept or not; drivers can request a dollar or so from each rider, and riders can provide it or not. (On the discussion board "Driver C" suggested this phrasing: "Are you able to contribute towards the toll?")
Does a pick-up count as a two-seat vehicle?
No, most pick-ups do not count as two-seat vehicles.
The number of seats/seat-belts
the vehicle was manufactured with - including jump seats - is the official