In an effort to get more people interested and educated in vanpools, Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) has teamed up with Commute with Enterprise for Vanpool Connect, to help people take their next step in securing an easy and affordable commute to work both into and out of Arlington County.
What is a vanpool? How is it different from carpooling?
For an exhaustive list of the differences, you can read this blog. The quick rundown is that both are great options to help you get to and from work. However, vanpools benefit long-distance (15+ miles) commuters far more than those who are closer to their job. Carpools are also usually run with someone’s personal vehicle, whereas the vanpool subsidies go to help rent a van specifically to get you to and from work. Similar to carpooling – one person will need to drive! With a vanpool, though, you can always choose to rotate whose driving so someone doesn’t get burnt out. Some vanpools even choose a designated driver and offer that person a discount for taking the reins.
Sitting in traffic on I-66 or Arlington Boulevard, day in and a day out, can start to wear on you. Vanpools benefit from being high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs) and can use all HOV lanes and roads. Riding in a vanpool can help reduce stress on your commute by avoiding traffic and giving you a direct connection with limited stops. You can take time to catch up on your reading, play games on your phone or even catch a little extra shuteye (leaning your head onto your fellow riders' shoulders may be frowned upon though). Vans can even be customized to have perks such as WiFi and satellite radio. Still not convinced? Many buildings in Arlington County are required to give vanpools discounted or free parking in their garages (Cha-ching $$$ savings). You can even use your commuter benefits to help pay for your vanpool!
Interesting… So, what are the incentives?
ATP is offering $50 a month for your first six months as a new rider in a vanpool or $50 to each rider in a newly started vanpool. While the $50 is definitely a great incentive, you will likely see even greater commute savings as vanpooling is often the cheapest way to travel long distances. Also, Vanpool Connect riders who refer friends to a vanpool can receive $200 up to two times!
Who supplies the van?
The van can be supplied by Commute with Enterprise and will either place you into an existing vanpool or coordinate with you to start a new one. Enterprise assists you with:
- Leasing the van
- Coordinating insurance
- Screening drivers
- Adding additional riders
- Assisting with vehicle maintenance
Wow, sign me up!
Editor's Note: This blog was updated on June 2020 with new information written by Tai Mooney.