Vanpools are an element of the transit system that allow the group to share the ride similar to a carpool , but on a large scale with competitors in fuel and vehicle operating costs. Vanpools have a lower operating and capital cost in the United States, but due to their relatively low capacity, vanpools often require subsidies comparable to conventional bus service. [1]

Vehicles may be provided by individuals, individuals in cooperation with various public and private support programs, through a program operated by or on behalf of an element of government.

The key concept is that people share a common place or work center.

A number of programs exists (within the United States) to help lower the cost of that shared ride to the end user. Among thesis are traditional funding available to public agencies, public-private partnerships, and the Best Work Places for Commuters [2] (Commuter Choice Programs). A tax is available under 26 USC §132 (f) Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit allowances. These public transport programs are designed to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Additional benefits include:

  • Speed: HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes for normally more than 2-3 people ride.
  • Fixed schedule (makes life more predictable).
  • Saving the cost of gasoline (in some cases, it is part of the program).
  • Riders often can have significant reductions in the cost of personal automobile insurance (insurance for the rideshare component is usually provided as part of the vanpool program).
  • Incentives from local / federal transportation authorities offset cost.

In many cases, an employee may elect to subsidize the cost of the vanpool and the vehicles. In some cases, the vehicles are provided and maintained by the municipality; In partnership with a third-party provider. For example, UCLA operates an extensive network of vans, in which faculty, staff and students are eligible for discounted rates, so anyone commuting to the Westwood area is allowed to participate, with drivers receiving the highest discounts. The vans are centrally maintained, fueled, and cleaned.

The King County Metro Vanpool Program [3] is a successful US program in the Puget Sound area, specifically in King County, Washington . Another successful program is operated by Pace in Illinois .

The oldest multi-use vanity program in the country is in Treasure Valley, Idaho. For over 30 years Ada County Highway District’s Commuteride [4] Vanpools have been crisscrossing the Valley helping commuters go to and from work, with their numerous vanpool roads throughout the Treasure Valley. The Air Force Base (MHAFB) is also the gateway to Ada and Canyon County. ACHD Commuteride serves the cities, Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Garden City, Eagle and Star as well as Ada County.

Private enterprise, as defined in the Act,


  1. Jump up^
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  4. Jump up^ “Ada County Highway District ~ Commuteride” . .

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