Casual Carpool is a longtime San Francisco Bay Area tradition where people line up at certain spots in Oakland and San Francisco to be picked up by people driving over the Bay Bridge. It's a win-win deal. Riders pay just $1 for a ride (voluntary), and drivers get to take the speedy carpool lanes. Thousands of people do it everyday. It's a lot cheaper than BART, too! (The last time I took BART from the Oakland Airport to the 16th Street Mission station in San Francisco it was over $20 round trip – wtf? That would be $400 a month for a commuter. Is BART just for rich people?)
The Wall Street Journal has an article about Casual Carpool, written by Laura Stevens. It is paywalled, but somehow I got access to the article after the third or forth try. The video from the article is above.
More than 6,000 people a day use Casual Carpool, according to one transit study. The median wait time for riders in line is just 2½ minutes, says Susan Shaheen, co-director of the University of California, Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center.
The service is unregulated, but riders know they are supposed to pay or at least offer $1 to help cover the $2.50 bridge toll and the driver's gas.
And die-hards gladly follow a series of unofficial rules that align with the Bay Area's quirky character: No fragrances. No phone calls. Don't speak unless the driver does. Listen to NPR.