Enjoy the benefits of riding with a group through vanpooling
Why put miles on your personal car when you can put them on a transit-owned van? In a vanpool rideshare, groups of three or more riders pay monthly fares that cover gas, bridge tolls, insurance, maintenance and even 24-hour roadside assistance to commute in a transit agency-owned van.
Washington State has more public vanpools than anywhere in the country, making it easy for you to participate! Vanpools eliminate more than 12,400 vehicles from the region's crowded roadways every day, and participating in one can help make an even greater impact.
Read on to learn how you can reduce traffic on the road and make your commute cheaper and easier with a vanpool.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is a vanpool?
- How to get started with a vanpool
- How much does it cost to vanpool
- Save money by vanpooling
- More ways to save by vanpooling
- Get help from experts
- Emergency ride home
WHAT IS A VANPOOL?
A vanpool is a group of 3 to 15 riders sharing a van provided by a transit agency. Transit agencies own, maintain, manage, insure and license the van. Each vanpool needs a volunteer driver, back-up driver and a bookkeeper. You don’t have to all work at the same place, but it helps to have start and end points that are near other riders.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH A VANPOOL
There are a number of convenient ways to match with a vanpool that works for you and your needs:
- Start a new vanpool by contacting Pierce Transit. To find riders, talk to co-workers or hang the Riders Wanted flyer (PDF) in your workplace.
- Find a regional van operating in your area based on your work schedule and location using RideshareOnline.com.
Complete your personalized ridematch request form if you’re commuting to JBLM or Camp Murray.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PARTICIPATE IN A VANPOOL?
Depending on the transit agency, the number of days you want to commute, the mileage of your commute, and the number of passengers will affect your total fare. Some agencies even have day rates available, too. But it’s safe to say that participating in a vanpool is cheaper than operating a single-occupancy vehicle!
Find your vanpool price based on your county and round-trip miles:
- Pierce County: Pierce Transit's Vanpool Fare page
- Thurston County: Intercity Transit's Vanpool Fare page
- King County: King County Metro's Vanpool Fare page
- Snohomish County: Community Transit’s Vanpool Fare page
- Kitsap County: Kitsap Transit's Vanpool Fare page
Your vanpool fare covers all operating costs, including gas, insurance, maintenance, and 24-hour support. Another cost-friendly perk: vanpoolers cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll-free and are not required to pay WA State Ferry vehicle fares!
Vanpool drivers get added perks through Pierce Transit. When there are at least five paying members of the vanpool, drivers do not pay a fare. Drivers can also pay a low standard rate for mileage associated with incidental trips related to the commute, such as stopping at the gym on the way home from work or driving to an appointment during work hours.
SAVE MONEY BY VANPOOLING
You can save some cash by riding in a vanpool. Check out this calculator to see how much by entering in some basic information about your regular commute.
MORE WAYS TO SAVE BY VANPOOLING
Although vanpools are already a great way to save on your commute, you may be able to save even more!
- Some employers offer a subsidy or reimbursement for vanpool fares.
- Many employers who provide ORCA cards cover the entire fare.
- Youth ride free! Riders 18 years of age or younger are not charged a vanpool fare.
Check with your employer, HR or Employee Transportation Coordinator to find out what kinds of benefits and incentives your workplace provides to vanpool riders.
GET HELP FROM EXPERTS
There are vanpool experts ready to help get you started. Check with the Pierce Transit Vanpool Staff for support and answers to your commuter questions.
EMERGENCY RIDE HOME
If your employer partners with Ride Together Pierce and you use a smart commute option to get to work, you may be eligible for a free Uber, Lyft or taxi ride home in case of an emergency. Visit Ride Together Pierce’s Emergency Ride Home page for more information or contact your Employee Transportation Coordinator.
STAR VANPOOLER HIGHLIGHT
See the benefits vanpooler Sue points out about vanpooling to work!
“Able to read, text, etc. during commute. Don’t have to worry about finding a place to park. One of the many things I love about vanpooling is not having to worry about finding a place to park, and the spots allocated for vanpools are close to the building.” — Sue M.