Carpooling, hitchhiking, and coffee all in one. The Hitching Post is a new way of transportation created by Phoenix Mitchell. He started the organization based on his own experience.
“I don’t want to own a car, I bike as much as possible but the winter is a really hard time to get around with a bike if you’re in the city it’s not too bad but when you’re ten miles north of town it’s hard,” said Mitchell. “So, I got into hitchhiking and realized that wow there’s all these people coming into Montpelier and there’s so much space and they’re really happy to pick people up.”
The Hitching Post’s first program is called “Coffee-Pooling”.
“Coffee- Pooling utilizes hitching posts which are basically informal bus stops where people can go and wait,” said Mitchell.
Where does the coffee come in? Participants can go into the cafe and buy a coffee coin, which is actually a wooden coin that costs $1. They can then go outside by the wooden post and raise a flag to let drivers know they need a ride. Riders are then supposed to give their drive the coffee coins as a way to say thanks.
The hitching posts are located at Birch Grove Baking in Montpelier and the post office cafe in Worcester. It’s another way for people to get together and meet each other. This is a nice place to do that,” said Betsy Gladding, owner of The Post Office Café.
Kyle Devitt is Worcester who owns “Grub Wagon,” and operates Worcester’s farmers markets.
“I think it gives a sense of community by people getting together and getting to know each other that otherwise wouldn’t know one another.”
It’s also a way to save the environment
“It’s a small thing that we can do that has dramatic effects because over half of the carbon emissions from the state of Vermont are from transportation,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell also advices drivers to be safe. He said you can coordinate rides through the Facebook group titled, “Hitching Post Vermont.” People can also wait for a driver they feel comfortable with or another rider.
“The beauty of it is that you’re in control and we advise riders and drivers a lot to use their best discretion,” said Mitchell.