Promoting carpooling and vanpooling options for employees and providing incentives for those who carpool or vanpool can save your organization money and help with recruitment and retention by providing a deeper and more inclusive benefits package. ‘Poolers not only reduce congestion on the roads, but free up parking spaces in parking lots and garages. If you own or lease parking facilities for employees, this could save your company an average of $150 per space per month, and you could potentially save over $1,800 a year per space reduced.
Carpooling is an arrangement by a group of commuters to drive together in the same car to their place (or places) of business. Carpools usually consist of individuals who live near each other and are employees of the same company (or are employees of different companies located only a short distance apart) and have the same work hours.
Carpooling reduces the number of cars on the road and in your company parking lot, and allows your employees to use the faster and less congested HOV lanes on I-66, I-95, and I-395 in Virginia and I-270 in Maryland. According to a 2009 report from the American Automotive Association (AAA), to own and operate a mid-sized car averaging 15,000 miles a year costs $8,104. Sharing the cost with two other people by carpooling could save the owner up to $450 a month.
Ridesharing - Ridematching
Carpooling can also be encouraged through computerized matching of riders with the same needs, and through company involvement in ridesharing and ridematching programs.
Commuter Connections has been helping commuters find carpools for over 20 years, making this one of the easier programs for your company to offer. The Commuter Assistance Program (CAP), through the Commuter Connections Ridematching Service, can match individual employees interested in carpooling at no cost, or help set up a ridematch program at your place of business.
Vanpooling is an arrangement by a group of commuters to drive together in a van to their place (or places) of business. Full-size vans and minivans carry 7 to 15 passengers and therefore are the next step up from carpools. Vanpools usually consist of individuals who live near each other and are employees of the same company (or are employees of different companies located only a short distance apart) and have the same work hours. As an added incentive, employees can take advantage of their tax-free transit benefits for vanpooling.
Here's how it works:
A group of commuters lease the van on a month-to-month basis (no long-term commitment). In some cases, employers will lease or even purchase the van for their employees, and occasionally employees will use their own vehicles. Most often though, the vehicle is leased from a private vanpool company.
One member of the group volunteers to be the driver and collects the riders' monthly fares. The driver gets personal use of the van, and in many groups doesn't pay, depending on how the group wants to arrange it.
The vanpool leasing company usually covers maintenance and repairs, insurance, and even provides a backup van when needed.
Vanpooling is an important option for organizations who must recruit employees from further distances. As an employer, you can operate or sponsor a vanpool service yourself or contract with an outside vanpool leasing company independently, charging a monthly fare for a group of coworkers.
Currently, vanpool riders are eligible to take advantage of the tax-free transit benefits provided by their employers. Most regional vanpool providers are accepting WMATA’s SmartBenefits as forms of payment.
Benefits of Carpooling and Vanpooling
Sharing the ride can save your employees money by lowering their gasoline bills, insurance costs, and parking expenses. Van and Carpoolers can take advantage of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to reach their destinations faster, and they can choose to read, sleep, or chat when they're not behind the wheel. Overall, employees will arrive to work less stressed and more alert. Employees who carpool or vanpool show higher productivity, less tardiness and lower absenteeism.
goDCgo Employer Services consultants can assist in promoting this program to your employees. Your specialized consultant can help educate your employees on the benefits of carpooling and vanpooling and work with you one-on-one to set up the following promotions to help spread the word:
Offering tax-free transit benefits (currently, only for transit and vanpool commuters)
Provide a commuting incentive program for those who carpool to work
Offering free or reduced-fee parking for vanpools and carpools (for employers who currently have fee-based employee parking).
Charging a parking fee to discourage single-occupant vehicles (for employers who previously offered free parking).
Providing preferential parking (closer to the building) for vanpoolers and carpoolers.
Hosting a lunch time vanpool formation party to let employees form or join vanpools or carpools.
Providing information to employees on the Commuter Connections Ridematching service and Guaranteed Ride Home program. goDCgo has brochures available.