If your commute is 35 miles or more one-way and you know others who make the same trip, you're a good prospect for a vanpool - a cost efficient, time sensitive, and comfortable way to travel to and from work.
What makes vanpools so economical?
Shared expenses. In a typical vanpool, seven to fifteen commuters ride together, each contributing a low monthly fare that gets them a comfortable van, and covers all maintenance and repairs, and all insurance, too.
Not only is the cost of gas spread out among all the riders, each saves on the wear and tear on their car. You car won't depreciate as fast, nor need maintenance as often. For some people, a vanpool means not having to buy a new or used car just to be sure of having a vehicle they can rely on to make a daily long-distance commute.
How does a vanpool work?
One person volunteers to be the primary driver/coordinator of the van. In exchange for taking on that responsibility, the driver gets to use the van for personal transportation, even at night or on the weekends.
Riders usually meet at a designated pick-up location such as a Park and Ride lot. Some vans have more than one pick-up point, some don't. The same applies to drop-off points at the destination. It all depends on the nature and needs of the vanpool group
How much does a vanpool cost?
The riders share a fee that covers the cost of the vanpool lease and gas. The leasing price depends on the size of the van and the number of miles the vanpool travels each month. All maintenance, license, and insurance costs are included in the lease.
To help a vanpool get started or keep going, RideShare provides access to two programs-VanSave and VanStart. VanStart gives new vanpools a chance to build ridership by temporarily subsidizing empty seats. Existing vanpools that have an unexpected loss of riders can call on the VanSave program to help tide them over as they find new riders. Contact RideShare for more info.
Just as important, employers can help cover the cost of a vanpool and get a tax deduction through an IRS-approved fringe benefit plan called Commuter Choice.
What if there's an emergency and I need to leave early?
RideShare's Guaranteed Ride Home program makes sure you get to the places you need to in an emergency.
What if my boss asks me to work late, without notice?
Again, RideShare's Guaranteed Ride Home will get you home. So don't worry, you're covered.
What if I have errands I need to run?
Discuss schedule changes with other vanpoolers in your group. You may be able to set your pick-up point close to a shopping center or bank to accommodate errands after work. Or, you may choose not to vanpool on the days you have to run errands.
What are the vans like?
All of the 15, 12 and 9-passenger vans are specifically designed for commuters. Each is equipped with air-conditioning, individual vents and reading lights, AM/FM radio, and automatic transmission. Vans are replaced every two years.
Who owns the van?
The van is leased from VPSI, a company that has been operating vanpools across the country for over 25 years. VPSI owns the van, you lease from VPSI, and RideShare is your liaison to VPSI.
What is my commitment to the van?
All commuters in a vanpool make a month-to-month commitment. You may leave the vanpool by giving 30-days notice. This allows the vanpool time to recruit another rider to take your place.
What if the driver or a rider gets sick or goes on vacation?
Each van has a back-up driver in case the primary driver cannot drive the van for whatever reason. Riders are responsible for their monthly fare whether or not they choose to ride the van every day.
Interested in forming a vanpool?Contact us. We'll guide you through the process of gathering riders, calculating the fare, determining routes, and getting your new vanpool on the road.
A program of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
401 East Water Street - P.O. Box 1505 - Charlottesville, VA 22902-1505
(434) 295-6165 - toll free (888) 974-5500 - fax (434) 979-1597