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A vanpool is a group of 7 to 15 people who commute together on a regular basis in a van. Usually, 1 person drives and maintains the van while riders pay a monthly fare. Companies sometimes own and operate vanpools, offering employees the chance to ride at a reduced rate as a “perk.” Others are organized and run by a pool of individual commuters.
Do you commute a long distance (at least 15 miles 1 way)? Is your work schedule consistent, or does it have the potential to be? If so, you may be an ideal candidate for vanpooling.
Riders pay a monthly fare based on the cost of the vanpool commute. Fares vary depending on the type of van, features, commute distance, number of riders, and so on. The average cost for most vanpools is $70-$120 per person a month.
To reduce the number of pick-ups and drop-offs, and therefore ensure that everyone gets to work and home as speedily as possible, most vanpoolers choose to meet at Park and Ride lots. A typical vanpool may make anywhere from 1 - 3 stops at Park and Ride lots or other agreed-upon locations along the way.
Your monthly fare reserves your seat whether you use it or not. If you’ll be gone for an extended amount of time, most vanpools allow you to temporarily “sublet” your seat to another rider. Remember, even if you miss a day here or there, vanpooling is still a bargain compared to driving alone.
Most vanpools set a standard waiting period, such as 5 - 7 minutes, that the van will remain at a designated stop. Many vanpoolers say that they’re actually grateful that vanpooling allows them to leave work on time.
Most vanpools have established rules that cover such ground as whether smoking is okay, if they’re going to play the radio, how long they’ll wait for a tardy rider and so on. The driver or vanpool coordinator sets some policies; others may be up for a “vote” by riders.
Not only can you save thousands of dollars a year on gas and other commuting costs, you may also be able to save time by traveling in a carpool lane. Some vanpoolers qualify for special perks at the work site such as preferred parking, prize drawings, subsidies and more. And just think how relaxed you’ll be leaving the driving to someone else! It’s no wonder that 98% of vanpoolers say they’d recommend vanpooling to a friend or co-worker.