Vanpools are cost-effective for groups of six or more commuters who travel more than 15 miles each way. Drivers and passengers follow a route and schedule they decide upon together. Spend your time riding instead of driving to work with a restful, relaxing commute. No worries about traffic... no worries about vehicle reliability... no worries about getting to work on time.
To find an existing vanpool, look in Commuter Club or the TMA Vanpool Seats Available page. If you find a vanpool from your home that has a seat available, ask the coordinator about the van's "rules." If you decide to start a new vanpool, you and the riders in the van will meet in advance to develop your rules.
In Sacramento, we have two full service commuter vanpool leasing companies that lease vans, provide insurance, roadside maintenance and help fill seats. Contact below for information or assistance forming a vanpool:
- Enterprise Rideshare. Maryam Amiri. (916) 787-4757. Cell: (510) 541-4905.
- vRide. Ricardo Oliva. (925) 864-0503. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vanpools save commute costs
You can save hundreds of dollars each year by commuting in a vanpool. Some employers (including the State of California) provide the same subsidy to employees who drive or ride in vanpools as that given to transit riders.
An Incentive program at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) will subsidize newly-formed vanpools operating in the Sacramento Region - Sacramento, Yolo, Yuba, Sutter, El Dorado, and Placer Counties - for a six-month initial period. This is a $2,000 value! This incentive to vanpool is offered on a first-come, first-served basis to any qualifying vanpool that has signed agreements with SACOG and a participating vanpool vendor. For information go to http://www.sacregion511.org/.
Every vanpool has worked out the details of commuting in their van. Some have a section of the commute during which there is no talking, (especially in the early morning). Other groups become such friends during the commute time that the vanpool stays together for years. The people in the van agree on the following details:
- Decide who will drive, who will be an alternate driver, and if another person in the van will be the Vanpool Coordinator. Agree on a payment schedule, and if the driver will pay or ride at no cost because of his or her additional responsibilities.
- Decide where and when the designated pick-up points and times will be.
- Establish a rule for latecomers. Decide how long the vanpool will wait for a passenger (3 - 5 minutes is usually recommended).
- The driver keeps the car clean, well maintained and filled with enough fuel for each trip.
- Decide on radio use, smoking policies and other similar concerns before you start carpooling. Is eating/drinking allowed? Which station will you listen to on the radio?
- Set up a plan of communication and have a back-up plan for emergency situations. Who will be your alternate drivers in cases of illness or emergency before the morning commute? If your driver must leave early because of a family emergency or stay late for unexpected overtime, what will the other riders do? The Sacramento TMA offers a Emergency Ride Home (below) that will provide you a taxi ride home for these situations.
- If someone can't make it on a given day, let the driver know in advance the day before. Don't forget to give notice of vacation, personal or overtime plans.