Ridesharing means two or more persons traveling together in an automobile or van. Ridesharing benefits include fuel cost savings, wear and tear on roads, reducing traffic congestion, HOV lane access, overall expense saving by minimized driving, reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Ridesharing services enable commuters to find other individuals who share similar commute routes and work hours. Ridesharing promotes alternative ways for commuters to get to work such as:
Carpooling is when two or more commuters ride together in a private automobile on a continuing basis, regardless of their relationship to each other or the cost of sharing agreements. Carpooling is the simplest and most common “ridesharing” arrangement.
Finding someone to carpool is easy because employees of a single company often live near each other. Neighbors may work at different companies located only a short distance apart and have the same work hours.
Carpools can be arranged in one of the following ways:
- One person may drive all the time, while the passengers contribute only to the cost (e.g., gas and parking).
- Participants may alternate driving and not exchange money.
- The carpool driver may pick up passengers at their homes, or they may meet at a central location.
- Carpools can and do include family members.
You get the picture. Collectively, the carpool participants make up the rules and schedule.
Ready to join or start a carpool? Find out more information here.
Vanpooling is an important and economical option for individuals commuting long distances. This option is popular in the Metropolitan Washington DC area because of long commuting distances to work sites. A company can give vanpoolers up to $255 in tax-free transportation benefits each month.
Types of Vanpools
There are three kinds of vanpool arrangements:
- Owner-operated vans — An individual leases or purchases a van and operates the van independently. Riders generally meet at a central location and pay the owner a set monthly fee.
- Third-party vans — A vanpool “vendor” leases the vanpool vehicle for a monthly fee that includes the vehicle operating cost, insurance, and maintenance. The vendor can contract directly with one or more employees. The monthly lease fee is paid by the group of riders.
- Employer-provided vans — The employer (or a group of employers) buys or leases vans for employees’ commute use. The employer organizes the vanpool riders and insures and maintains the vehicles. The employer may charge a fee to ride in the van or subsidize the service. Check with your company’s Human Resources department.
Ready to join or start a vanpool? Find out more information here.