Commuter Vanpool Program

Vanpool Pilot Overview

Vanpool Project vanSince, late 2016, he City of Rochester, in partnership with vRide, Inc. and the Regional Transit Authority (RTS), piloted a commuter van pool program that was focused on connecting Rochester residents to jobs throughout the region. During the course of the pilot vRide was acquired by Enterprise, which is taking over vanpool services in the Rochester market.

During the pilot program, the City subsidized the cost of the service for two to three vanpool groups that:

  • Originated within the City’s limits, or
  • Included at least three City residents who reside in census tracts with 30 percent or greater poverty.

Expanded Commuter Vanpool Program in Partnership with RGRTA/RTS

Due to the success of the pilot, the City of Rochester was able to secure a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant from New York State to expand the program as part of the larger Rochester Shared Mobility Program. As part of the expansion, RTS will take over oversight of the program, and integrate it into its portfolio of transportation services. RTS's goal is to expand the program to 30 vans by November 2020, serving as many as 450 riders. As the region's public transit authority, RTS is the logical long term operator of the program. The City will still maintain a subsidy pool funded by the NYS grant, which will reimburse RTS for a portion of the cost of eligible vans. The City, RTS, and Enterprise are seeking to build partnerships with employers and service providers to help get citizens to jobs and opportunity.

Vans eligible for subsidy under the expanded program include:

  • Originates within the City of Rochester, OR
  • Terminates within the City of Rochester, OR
  • Includes at least three (3) participants that reside within high poverty census tracts as defined by a poverty rate of 25% or greater according to the most current Census data. 

What is a van pool?

A van pool is a group of up to 12 commuters who voluntarily participate in a rideshare arrangement. The van makes just one trip to a workplace and one trip home during the day. Vans are driven by a volunteer driver who is also commuting to work.

Enterprise will provide the van, insurance, maintenance, a ride matching platform and designated fuel card for each group. Unlike traditional bus service or a shuttle service, vanpooling is unique because each route is tailored to suit the needs of a specific group of riders. 

For Employers

There are many benefits to providing or supporting vanpool services to your worksite including:

  • Improved employee morale, productivity, efficiency, and attendance;
  • Reduced on-site parking requirements and demand;
  • Payroll tax savings through participation in Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits program;
  • Enhanced public image and environmental stewardship; and
  • NO capital investment!

Employers can help provide or support vanpool services in a variety of ways that suit their needs and resource availability including:

  • Allowing vRide access to employees through email or in person visits to educate and gauge interest in vanpooling;
  • Providing employee zip code data to vRide for cluster mapping and feasibility;
  • Paying for the service partially or completely to help reduce the cost to employees; and
  • Setting up a Transportation Fringe Benefit package for your employees.

For more information please see this document and contact Brianna Alvarado, Enterprise Account Manager at Brianna.R.Alvarado@ehi.com 

For Vanpool Participants

Our vendor, Enterprise, operates thousands of van pools across the nation. As a van pool participant you can:

  • Save money and time. If you have a vehicle, you will save money on its maintenance, gas, parking, and insurance. If you do not have a vehicle, you will have a reliable ride!
  • Gain flexibility and reliability in your commute. You and your coworkers will figure out your preferred route to work, you will be in control of timing pick-ups and drop-offs. Leases are flexible and renew every 30 days, so there’s no long term commitment.
  • Relax during your commute. In a vanpool you can read, take a nap, or catch up on email during your commute. 
  • Reduce your impact on the environment. Sharing a ride to work reduces harmful emissions and reduces the demand on parking- vanpooling is the green way to get to work. 
  • Become a volunteer driver. Love driving or want limited access to a vehicle for personal use? If you meet the following requirements, you can volunteer to drive to the vanpool. Your coworkers will appreciate it.

Click Here to Search for a Vanpool, Start a Vanpool, or Help Coordinate a Vanpool 

 Driver Requirements

  • Valid driver’s license;
  • Minimum of five years current and uninterrupted licensed driving;
  • 25 years of age or older
  • No more than one moving violation or at-fault accident in past 12 months, no more than two in past 36 months;
  • No speeding violation in excess of 20 miles per hour;
  • No record of convictions for serious offenses including but not limited to driving under the influence or reckless operation;
  • Must apply and have issued written approval by vRide to operate vehicles provided by vRide.

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