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Metro Vanpool Program

Metro Vanpool Program

Introduction

Welcome to the Metro Vanpool Program.  Here you will find everything you need to know about our program and work to help individuals in their efforts for greener commutes.

Below you will find general information about the Metro Vanpool Program.  Metro Vanpool Program staff are here to answer any questions you have. We can be reached at 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net.

The Metro Vanpool Program is one of the largest publicly funded vanpool programs in the United States. With nearly 1,300 vanpools bringing commuters in to Los Angeles County every month, we're helping to take 6,000 cars of the road every week day.

drawing of vanpool example

If you live far from work, but close to your coworkers, the Metro Vanpool Program may be right for you. We help commuters with similar schedules and similar destinations get to and from work with ease.

Image of people with vanpool vehicle

The Metro Vanpool Program has three central goals:

1. Take single occupancy vehicles off the road
2. Reduce emissions per person

3. Provide transit service in areas
and at times that lack it

If you are ready to be part of the Metro Vanpool Program reach out to us, we’ll be happy to help. 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net.

For more information, please review the Metro Vanpool Program Overview and the Starting a Vanpool sections below.

Testimonials

The two videos below offer a taste the Metro Vanpool Program from perspective of our enrolled Volunteer Participants and their passengers.

Metro Vanpool Program: Caltech Commuters

Metro Vanpool Program: Los Angeles World Airports Commuters

Metro Vanpool Program Overview

Sharing the ride and expenses in a vanpool has always been a convenient, reliable and economical way to get to work. The typical vanpooler saves as much as 70% in commute costs when switching from driving alone to vanpooling.  The Metro Vanpool Program makes vanpooling more affordable than ever before by saving each vanpool up to $500 per month. That equates to an additional 20 – 30% savings.

Metro administers the Metro Vanpool Program to provide alternative transportation choices to commuters, improve air quality, and reduce traffic congestion in Los Angeles County.

What is a vanpool?

With gas prices rising, traffic congestion increasing, and energy resources dwindling, smart long-distance commuters are seizing the opportunity to turn an often costly and frustrating daily commute into a more pleasant experience. It’s called vanpooling.

Vanpools are similar to carpools, except they involve more people. A vanpool is a group of five to 15 commuters who regularly travel together to work in a comfortable van, minivan, or SUV, at least three days per week. Typically, vanpool passengers pay a monthly lease fare, while drivers ride at a discounted rate in exchange for driving and maintaining the van. Vanpoolers can shave an average of 20 minutes off of their commute time by using carpool lanes, and lower the stress and expense of driving alone.

Metro Vanpools are open to everyone and the Metro Vanpool Program strictly prohibits discrimination in all its forms. Our enrolled Volunteer Participants agree to cooperate and act to ensure that no person shall be denied the opportunity to participate in, nor be subject to discrimination in the conduct of the vanpool because of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, or employer group. Our Vehicle Suppliers will provide vehicles that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upon request of a Volunteer Participant or a passenger. For more information about our ADA compliance, please visit our ADA Compliance Policy page.

Where to Begin

Get started with at least five commuters ready to share the ride and save. Whether just starting a vanpool or a vanpool group already on the road, both new and existing vanpool groups with a valid lease from one of our Vehicle Suppliers are eligible to participate in the Metro Vanpool Program. Program requirements are detailed in the Metro Vanpool Program Participation Guidelines and Metro Vanpool Program Participation Agreement.

Application Process

To apply for the Metro Vanpool Program lease fare subsidy, a vanpool agreement holder with a valid vanpool agreement with any Metro Vanpool Program Vehicle Supplier must read and agree to the terms and conditions of the Participation Agreement, complete the Metro Vanpool Program Participation Application, and submit the completed application to Metro. Applications received by Metro by the 15th of each month will be considered for enrollment on the first day of the following month. Please visit our Applicants page for more information and for assistance in completing your application.

Enrollment Evaluation

Metro will review each application received for eligibility and completeness based on the following rules:

  • Applicant is the confirmed primary driver or lease holder
  • Vanpool operates at least three days each week
  • Vanpools must begin service with at least 70% of vehicle seats occupied
  • Vanpool agreement holder agrees to all terms and conditions of the Metro Vanpool Program
  • Vehicle lease fare is less than or equal to maximum lease authorized
  • Vanpools must end at a work site located within Los Angeles County
  • Vehicle selected is less than four years old and has less than 200,000 miles

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant at the email address given to us. All complete and valid applications received by Metro by the 15 th of the month will be considered for enrollment as of the 1 st of following month. Metro will notify all applicants about the status of their applications (approved or declined) on or about the 20 th of the month. Please visit our Applicants page for more information and for assistance in completing your application.

Maintaining Enrollment

Requirements for maintaining enrollment include:

Additional Benefits

Following are several additional benefits available to support vanpools.

  • Both employers and employees can benefit by participating in Commuter Benefits, a program outlined in the federal tax code that offers employer tax breaks for subsidizing vanpools for employees. In addition, employees may benefit when they set aside pre-tax dollars for vanpool commuting expenses
  • Metro Vanpool Program Vehicle Suppliers accept TransitChek vouchers which can make providing vanpool subsidies to employees easier
  • Employer sponsored subsidies can lower vanpool fares even more
  • Employer sponsored Guaranteed Ride Home Program programs can supplement these programs

Please visit our Employers page for more information about how the Metro Vanpool Program can work with your organization.

Starting a Vanpool

Put together a group of at least five people interested in forming a new vanpool to a worksite in Los Angeles County, and you may be eligible to receive a monthly lease fare subsidy with the Metro Vanpool Program.  Read the remainder of the this section for more details and suggestions for getting your vanpool on the road.

Building interest to start a vanpool serving my area

If you don’t already know of at least five people who share a similar commute to yours and are interested in vanpooling try our seat finder. You might find an existing vanpool going your way. If you would prefer someone to contact you about starting or joining a vanpool, complete this information request and one of our team members will contact you.

Also, you may want to ask the Human Resources Representative or the Employee Transportation Coordinator at your company for a zip code list of co-workers who may live in your area, or along your route to work. In addition, our Metro Vanpool Program Vehicle Suppliers can help you find riders.

Do I need to own a van to start a vanpool?

No, in fact the Metro Vanpool Program only enrolls vanpool vehicles that are leased by the Metro Vanpool Program’s Vehicle Suppliers. Our Vehicle Suppliers lease commuter vanpools on a month-to-month basis, and the lease includes insurance and maintenance. They also offer information and assistance for recruiting riders and policies.

Steps to getting started

Determine a route, recruit riders, set fares and policies, lease a vehicle, submit your Metro Vanpool Application. Your Vehicle Supplier is an invaluable ally in each of the steps to get started.

If I start a vanpool, do I have drive it?

For a vanpool to run efficiently, vanpool members must be willing to take on certain roles. These roles include:

  • Volunteer Participant: leaseholder or primary driver who enrolled in the Metro Vanpool Program
  • alternate drivers: people approved by your Vehicle Supplier to drive the vanpool vehicle
  • bookkeeper: many vanpools designate a person to assist the Volunteer Participant in maintaining the records of the vanpool
  • passengers: people who regularly or occasionally ride the vanpool to help ensure the minimum occupancy policy is met

You and your vanpool group will need to determine the best set-up for your vanpool. Some groups may have one primary driver and one or more alternate drivers, while other groups rotate driving and other responsibilities among all their vanpool members. Note: the Metro Vanpool Program applicant must be the vanpool’s primary driver or leaseholder.

Benefits to driving the vanpool

Since every vanpool group sets its own rules and policies, the benefits of driving will vary based on how you choose to organize your vanpool. In exchange for driving and handling routine maintenance (fueling, cleaning, etc.) it is customary for drivers to ride at a discount or free. Some vanpools may split the driving duties between several people, giving each of them a discount. Or, your vanpool may prefer to run more like a co-op with everyone taking a turn at driving, collecting fares, handling maintenance responsibilities.

Establishing vanpool fares

Fares should reflect an equal division of the real costs of leasing the vehicle, less the Metro Vanpool Program lease fare subsidy. Maintenance fees (gas, parking, tolls, vehicle cleaning) may be set slightly higher. That way, the fluctuations in gas prices won’t impact fees—you’ll have a “reserve” in the bank. However, don’t set the fees too high. The affordable cost of vanpooling is one of the most appealing incentives to attract new riders.

Contact Us

Questions about the Metro Vanpool Program can be addressed by Metro staff. Contact the Metro Vanpool Program Help Desk at 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net or enter your contact info here and someone will contact you.

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