Shortly before the pandemic, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority rolled out a Vanpool program aimed at increasing options for people looking to get to work, and for the employers who depend on them.
Vanpool is an employer sponsored program that allows up to 15 employees to use vans on their daily commutes to and from work. Partnered with Commute with Enterprise, the Vanpool program rents out passenger vans. Half the service is paid for by TARTA and the remaining half can either be paid for by the employer or by the employees.
The many benefits to this service are laid out by the Daniel Hunt the mobility manager at TARTA.
“We’re always looking for solutions that will help people get to essential destinations, and getting the work is the very definition of an essential destination,” said TARTA Mobility Manager Daniel Hunt. “We wanted to make it easier and less expensive for people to make a living.
“For those who can drive but don’t always have a reliable vehicle, Vanpool works as an affordable alternative to taking a rideshare service every day or making expensive repairs. For businesses, it’s a way to get a number of employees where they need to go and it gives them access to our entire workforce – not just the people who are fortunate enough to live in a certain area or have access to a car every day. Everybody wins.”
Once at least four people are signed up for Vanpool at a certain employer, Enterprise will assign a recent model SUV or van and a pick-up location.
Hunt highlights that employer can pay for half of this service. The remainder of the cost can be pooled together and split evenly among passenger using the service. Fuel and insurance are also covered in that cost.
While pricing is variable, the program pre-pandemic lessened the burden of many area residents from a $15-20 rideshare to $20 per month.
“It’s helpful in a lot of ways,” Hunt said. “It can save a lot of money for customers headed to work at the same place, and gives employers peace of mind.
“We continue to look for ways to both increase mobility in the region and expand the options for those looking for work. We’ll continue to look for solutions like this that remove barriers to people connecting with their community.”
If a Vanpool participant needs to leave or be picked up early or there are issues with the van, Enterprise will send a car out as a replacement vehicle free of charge.
TARTA has ramped up efforts to expand the number of vans and people using the service. Employers or employees who feel their business could benefit from the service are encouraged to contact Daniel Hunt at 419-725-5281, or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Vanpool is available to those who live or work within TARTA service areas. Transportation is available for those living in TARTA’s service area who work up to 45 miles away.
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