By Andrea Flores

DENVER (CBS4) – Parents are coming together to get their kids to school and cut down on traffic thanks to a free carpool program through Way to Go.

It’s the start of a new school year for Laura, a student at Denver School of the Arts. Her mom has to get her out the door on time.

(credit: CBS)

Instead of catching the bus at 6:30 a.m., Laura and her mom, Wendy Folger, have opted to use Schoolpool.

“I don’t want to have to get up that early and spend most of my morning on a bus because of the extra routes we have to take,” Laura said.

Schoolpool is a carpool program through Way to Go, a division of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, that pairs up parents and students.

(credit: CBS)

“Schoolpool shows you exactly where the other parents are so you don’t need to contact any parent that’s out of your way, you contact parents that are already on your route, and that live in your area,” Folger said.

Celeste Stragand with DRCOG says Schoolpool builds community and offers alternatives for busy families.

“It allows them to save money, share the responsibility, as well as reduces congestion,” Stragand said. “It increases safety at drop off and pick up, and you’ve got less cars on the road.”

When it’s Wendy’s turn to take the wheel each week, she picks up three teenagers along her route. They buckle up, hit the road and share stories from summer vacation along the way.

“I know some of the carpool students from previous schools because they live in the neighborhood so it was a reconnection for us,” Laura said.

(credit: CBS)

The teens usually pile out at their final stop. Laura says even though they go their separate ways, her tiny carpool community is better than the bus.

“It’s easier than being with strangers on a bus who you don’t know at all,” said Laura.

Way to Go organizers say last year Schoolpool reduced 10 million miles of travel.

Folger says setting it up was simple, and she only has to drive carpool once a week.

Connect with other parents in your area and use Schoolpool: https://waytogo.org/getting-around/schoolpool

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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