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Metro Vanpool Program Policy

Monthly Vanpool Report Policy graphic

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to explain how and when to submit a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report, the criteria used to validate reports, and what happens if you fail to submit a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report.

Metro requires the Volunteer Participant to record the actual data for each day that a vanpool operates.  Each month, every enrolled Volunteer Participant must complete a Monthly Vanpool Report. Metro uses your Monthly Vanpool Reports to collect ridership data. We are required to submit the data to the National Transit Database.  Metro is only able to pay your lease-fare subsidy when you track your accurate passenger counts, precise trip times, and exact distance.


Monthly Vanpool Report example

As the graphic above shows, Metro relies our or Volunteer Participants to collect accurate and precise data.  Your data allows us to meet our obligations to the National Transit Database and in turn, enables us to pay your lease-fare subsidy.  The rest of this document explains in detail what constitutes a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report and how to ensure we receive it on time.

Questions about the Metro Vanpool Program Monthly Report Policy can be addressed by Metro staff.  Contact the Metro Vanpool Program Help Desk at 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net.

Table of Contents

Monthly Vanpool Report Evaluation

Metro Vanpool Program Monthly Vanpool Reports must be timely, complete, legible, accurate, and valid.

Reports that do not meet the below criteria will be returned to the Volunteer Participant for correction. If your Monthly Vanpool Report is not received by the due date, your agreement and lease-fare subsidy are subject to termination.

As you review this section, click here to open the Monthly Vanpool Report Sample. The sample is an example of our best practices.

Timely

Monthly Vanpool Reports are due by the third business day of the following month. For example, if you are reporting for January, your report would be due by the third business day of February.  Submitting your Monthly Vanpool Report on time benefits you.  When a Monthly Vanpool Report is submitted on time, we have the opportunity to contact you in case of an error.  If you submit your report late in our collection cycle and we cannot accept it due to an error or omission, we may not be able to contact you in time to correct it.

Metro provides a calendar showing the Monthly Vanpool Report due dates.  Click here to download the PDF , or you can call or email us to ask for a hard copy.

Early Reports

Reports that are submitted before the end of the reporting month will be returned as invalid. Metro requires actual and precise data.  We cannot accept forecasts, estimates, predictions, or approximations.  For example, if you are reporting for March and submit your monthly report on March 25 th with data through the end of the month, we will know you are estimating or forecasting for those days in the future.

Late Reports

All Metro Monthly Vanpool Reports are due on the third business day of the following month. Metro will evaluate late reports at its sole discretion. Submitting your Metro Vanpool Program Monthly Report on time and keeping your contact information up to date are both crucial aspects of maintaining your Metro Vanpool Program Agreement and lease fare-subsidy.

Metro breaks the Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take into two time periods: In-Take and Final Extended In-Take.  The Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take ends on the third business day of the following month.  This is the due date for the Monthly Vanpool Report.

The Monthly Vanpool Report Final Extended In-Take ends on the date announced in the Final Notice email.  This is the final deadline for Metro to receive your complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report.  Once the Final Extended In-Take closes and the deadline has passed, Metro cannot accept your Monthly Vanpool Report.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take Cycle

Below is an example of a typical month’s In-take cycle.

diagram of Vanpool Report Monthly Intake Cycle

Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take Close is always the third business day of the following month.  This is the due date for your report.

Monthly Vanpool Report Final Extended In-Take Close will vary from month to month.  This is the final deadline for Metro to receive your report.

Monthly Vanpool Reports received after the Final Extended In-Take Close deadline cannot be accepted.

Table 1: Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take Cycle

Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take Phase

Phase begins on…

Phase ends on…

Monthly Vanpool Report Acceptance

In-Take Open

Last Day of the reporting month

Third business day of the following month

Complete and valid reports will be accepted.

Metro will return any incomplete or invalid reports to the Volunteer Participant for correction.

Final Extended In-Take Open

Fourth business day of the following month

Varies.  The end date of the Final Extended In-Take is included in our Final Notice email.

Complete and valid reports will be accepted up until the Final Extended deadline.

Metro cannot guarantee Volunteer Participants will have an opportunity to correct any invalid or incomplete reports.

In-Take Closed

The Final In-Take deadline

Any reports received after the Final Extended deadline cannot be accepted.

If Metro does not receive your complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report, you will first receive the Final Notice email.  The Final Notice is a reminder that your report is overdue.  After the Final Notice, if we still have not received your complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report, we will call you at the contact phone number you listed on your Application or most recent Vanpool Update form.  We may also attempt to contact your Vehicle Supplier and your employer.

We will use all resources available to help ensure that you can send in a valid Monthly Vanpool Report on time.  Metro can only contact you if your personal contact information is up to date and goes directly to you.  So, use a phone number that has a working voicemail.  Use an email address that you check frequently, even if you are out of the office.

Remember…

  • If you submit your report on time, you will have ample time to correct problems, if any.
  • If you submit your report after the third business day of the following month, we cannot guarantee you will have enough time to correct problems, if any.
  • Any report received after our Final Extended In-Take close cannot be accepted.

Should you find yourself unable to submit a Monthly Vanpool Report, and your agreement with Metro lapses, you are eligible to re-enroll.  See re-enrollment section below.

Complete

When recording your vanpool’s operations for the month, review and follow the directions carefully.  All required fields on the report must have a value except days of non-operation and monthly expenses that were not incurred by your vanpool. These items include the following:

  • Section I
    • your current Vehicle Number
    • your name
    • your contact telephone number
    • your Vehicle Supplier
  • Section II
    • the current reporting month and year
    • complete trip information for the days the vehicle was in operation
      • be sure to complete a value for all six rows for every day your drove the vanpool
      • leave all days the vanpool was parked totally blank
  • Section III
    • the total cost of gas
    • any other expenses, only if applicable
  • Section IV
    • your handwritten signature
      • the report must be signed by the enrolled Volunteer Participant
      • signatures of others, including but not limited to, alternative drivers, vanpool passengers, or employers will not be accepted as a valid report
      • the date the report was signed

Legible

All information provided on the Monthly Vanpool Report must be legible and easy to read.  Days of non-operation for your vanpool should be left blank.  If the vehicle is parked for the day, there is no need to cross it out or write zeros.

Volunteer Participants are encouraged to use the writable PDF version of the Monthly Vanpool Report to enter in their data.  Once complete, print your report, sign it, and send it to Metro as a scanned PDF.

Accurate

Metro requires Volunteer Participants to record all daily activity of the vanpool and its ridership. Estimating your trip distances, passenger counts, fuel cost or vehicle expenses will result in an invalid report.

For example, if you normally have five passengers and a rider is sick, then your passengers for that day should be four. If you have to take a detour one day, then your trip time and length for that day must reflect that detour.  When you are stuck in bad traffic, your trip time ought to reflect it.

Accuracy also includes maintaining up to date information regarding your ridership i.e., pick-up/drop-off locations and phone numbers that directly connect to each passenger. If these changes are permanent changes to your route/ridership you must complete and submit a Vanpool Update form to vanpool@metro.net.

Each month the Volunteer Participant should complete a new, unused report that records usage for that month. Photo copies or templates of previous reports will be flagged and marked as invalid. If a pattern of estimated, copied, or augmented reports is discovered, the Metro Vanpool Program will investigate the accuracy and validity of your reporting.

Please visit our FAQ about Accurate and Precise Reporting.

Valid

In this section we detail the requirements for a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report.  In order for a submitted Monthly Vanpool report to be considered valid it must meet the following criteria.

Section I – Volunteer Participant Identification

  • 1.1.    Vehicle Number shall be recorded on every Monthly Vanpool Report
    • 1.1.1. For Enterprise customers, please only use the six-digit alpha-numeric Vehicle number (also known as the Unit  Number) that begins with the number seven.  Do not use your license plate number, VIN, employer vanpool number, or  your Enterprise Account number that begins with the numbers 32.
  • 1.2.    Last name of the Volunteer Participant shall be written clearly on Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 1.3.    First name of the Volunteer Participant shall be written clearly on Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 1.4.    Check off the box that matches your Vehicle Supplier.

Section II – Daily Trip Information

  • 2.1.    Passengers: To/from work trips should include the total number of riders on board to/from the work site for each operating day of the month.
  • 2.2.    Time: Record total trip times in minutes using only whole numbers. For example, a travel time of 1 hour and 33 minutes should be recorded as 93 minutes. Trip time shall be recorded from where the vehicle first begins its trip (key in) until the last drop-off location (key out).
  • 2.3.    Distance: Record total trip mileage in miles using only whole numbers. For example, a travel distance of 24.3 miles should be recorded as 24.  Trip distance shall be recorded from where the vehicle first begins its trip (key in) until the last drop-off location (key out).
  • 2.4.    Blanks: Any day the Vanpool does not operate (for example, holidays, weekends, sick days, etc.) shall be left entirely blank. There is no need to write zeros, or to cross out days of non-operation.
    • 2.4.1.Weekends or National Holidays.  Only record data if your vanpool operated on these days.  If you report operations on a holiday or your reported operations differs from your schedule on file, Metro may contact you to verify that your vanpool actually operated on the reported day or days.
    • 2.4.2. Non existing calendar days like: February 30 th or June 31 st .

Section III – Vanpool costs

  • 3.1.    Only account for the monthly costs of operating your Vehicle that are not reimbursed by your vehicle supplier.
  • 3.2.    Gas: Include the total amount of money spent on gas for your monthly commute.
    • 3.2.1. If you replace your vehicle mid-month, include the total amount spent on gas for both vehicles on your Monthly Vanpool Report.
    • 3.2.2. If your employer pays for your fuel, be sure to get the total amount spent for the month and record that on your Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 3.3.    Vehicle cleaning: If you use a service or car wash to clean your vehicle, record the total cost on your Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 3.4.    Tolls: If you pay any tolls during the month, then record the total amount spent on tolls on your Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 3.5.    Parking fees: Any parking fee that you pay regarding the parking of the vehicle that is not covered by your vehicle supplier or employer, write that cost on your Monthly Vanpool Report.
  • 3.6.    Other: Is any other expense that is accrued by the vehicle during normal monthly commuting that is not covered above nor paid for by your vehicle supplier or employer.  For example, a monthly fee to rent a Wi-Fi hot spot or a traffic ticket.

Section IV – Volunteer Participant Acknowledgement

  • 4.1.    Acknowledgement shall be signed and dated by the Volunteer Participant. The signature must be hand signed by the Volunteer Participant only.
    • 4.1.1. Anyone can record daily trip information, prepare the Monthly Vanpool Report, or submit reports on behalf of the Volunteer Participant.  However, only the Volunteer Participant is authorized to sign the Monthly Vanpool Report.
    • 4.1.2. Check your Vanpool start date to be sure you send your Vanpool Report in at the appropriate time. For example, if your enrollment date is June 1, your first report will be due by the third business day in August.  If someone else was responsible for your vanpool prior to your enrollment date, that Volunteer Participant will need to submit any Monthly Vanpool Report due up through and including their termination date.  See our FAQ for more information about Volunteer Participant switches.

Other

  • 5.1.    The report must be emailed to as a scanned PDF to vanpool@metro.net or faxed to 213.652.1112.
  • 5.2.     Before sending your Monthly Vanpool Report to Metro, check to make sure it is filled out completely and the writing is legible.
  • 5.3.    Be sure you are using the latest version of the Monthly Vanpool report found here.
  • 5.4.    Metro accepts scanned PDFs or faxes.  Any other form of submitting your report will be marked invalid and returned to the Volunteer Participant.  Photos, .jpeg files, .tif files, or any other file format are invalid.
  • 5.5.    In the event that your vehicle supplier changes your vehicle during your reporting month, submit only one Monthly Vanpool Report. Use the Vehicle Number associated with the vehicle you are in on the last operating day of that month.

Monthly Vanpool Report Collection

Notification of reporting period now open

The Monthly Vanpool Report In-Take opens on the last day of the month. Metro will send all enrolled Volunteer Participants an email notifying you that we are expecting to receive a Monthly Vanpool Report from you. This email’s purpose is to remind every Volunteer Participant that the month is over and we are now open to collect your reports for the previous month’s operations.  The email will contain the due date for your Monthly Vanpool Report.  If you think you received the message in error please contact the Help Desk.

Notification of invalid, incomplete, or illegible report received

If Metro receives an invalid, incomplete, or illegible report, the Volunteer Participant will receive an email detailing the reasons why we cannot accept the report.  A copy of the report will be attached to the email and a deadline given for correction.  Metro encourages Volunteer Participants to carefully review all findings contained in the email before correcting and resubmitting the Monthly Vanpool Report.  If a Volunteer Participant has questions about the findings he or she should contact the Help Desk.

Final Notice

After Metro has processed all the Monthly Vanpool Reports that were sent in for that reporting month, we send a Final Notice email. The purpose of this notice is a final call to Volunteer Participants who have yet to submit their Monthly Vanpool Report. Included in the Final Notice email, Metro will announce the final extended deadline for submitting your Monthly Vanpool Report.  Any reports received after this deadline cannot be accepted.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

Termination for failure to report

Upon collection close, if a Volunteer Participant fails to submit a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report, Metro will terminate its Participation Agreement with the Volunteer Participant.  The termination date will be the last day of the prior month.  For example, if a Volunteer Participant failed to submit a Monthly Vanpool Report for October, the termination date would be effective September 30.

Re-enrollment

Metro allows those Volunteer Participants who fail to report to reenroll.  However, you will need to enroll during our regular Application cycle.  In the example above, the earliest that Volunteer Participant could be reenrolled is December 1st.  See the Metro Vanpool Program Agreement Termination Policy for more details about the agreement termination procedure. See the table below to see when you are eligible to reapply.

Table 2: Failure to Report and Re-enrollment Calendar

If you fail to submit your Monthly Vanpool Report for…

Your agreement termination date will be…

You will need to complete the application during the first two weeks of…

The earliest you could re-enroll into the program is…

January December 31 March April 1 st
February January 31 April May 1 st
March February 28 May June 1 st
April March 31 June July 1 st
May April 30 July August 1 st
June May 31 August September 1 st
July June 30 September October 1 st
August July 31 October November 1 st
September August 31 November December 1 st
October September 30 December January 1 st
November October 31 January February 1 st
December November 30 February March 1 st

Contact the Help Desk to request an Application at vanpool@metro.net or 213.922.7003.  The earlier you request an application and complete the re-enrollment process, the sooner your agreement and subsidy can restart.

Prorated subsidy calculation

In the event that a vanpool submits a Monthly Vanpool Report that does not represent Normal Commute Service as authorized, Metro may terminate the agreement. See, Termination by Metro, item c. The operation of the vehicle becomes inconsistent with Program eligibility requirements.

Specifically, vanpools must operate a minimum of 12 days in Normal Commute Service.  For those vanpools that operate at 11 or fewer days of Normal Commute Service, at Metro’s sole discretion, we may prorate the subsidy instead of terminating the agreement.  If applicable, the prorated subsidy will reflect a value consistent with the reported operations of the vanpool.  See Appendix 2 for the equation used to prorate your subsidy and some examples.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am on vacation, have an unforeseen illness, or an emergency that requires me to miss days of work.  Can someone else sign my MVR?

A:  No.  When Metro accepts an application and enrolls a vanpool into the Metro Vanpool Program, the applicant becomes the Volunteer Participant.  There is a one-to-one relationship between Metro and the Volunteer Participant.  Metro can only accept a report signed by the enrolled Volunteer Participant.

Q: Is there a penalty for submitting my monthly report late?

A:  Metro does not assess a late penalty.  However the later you submit your report the more difficult it will be to revise or correct. If you submit your report on the last day and there are errors in your report, you will not leave enough time for it to be corrected and resubmitted. This will result in your termination from the program.

Monthly Vanpool Reports must be received prior to the Final Extended In-Take close deadline.  There are no exceptions.

Q: May I submit my report via fax?

A: Yes, you may submit a report via fax transmission. However, we would encourage all correspondence sent to the Metro Vanpool Program be sent via email as scanned PDF. Email transmissions leave an electronic record that can be used to aid in verifying the submittal of your Monthly Vanpool Report. When using a fax transmission there are times when the transmission may say complete on your end but does not reach Metro. There are also other technological barriers that may prevent some Volunteer Participants from using certain fax machines, such as high security firewalls.

Q: As the Volunteer Participant do I have to send the Metro Vanpool Program or can someone else send it on my behalf?

A:  Anyone can submit a Monthly Vanpool Report for you. However, as the enrolled Volunteer Participant, you are solely responsible for submitting the Monthly Vanpool Report.  Should any third party fail to send the Monthly Vanpool Report, Metro will reach out to the Volunteer Participant to collect it. You may assign daily recording task however best fits your vanpool’s needs, but only the name and signature of the enrolled Volunteer Participant will be accepted on the report.

Q: Are electronic signatures acceptable?

A:  No. The Acknowledgement must be a true and authentic handwritten signature of the Volunteer Participant who is the primary driver or lease holder only. Reports with copied, missing, electronic, or mouse pad signatures are invalid and will be returned to the Volunteer Participant.

Q: Can I submit my monthly report using an image taken with my smart phone?

A: Metro will review all scanned PDF’s legibility.  If the scanned PDF produced by your smart phone app is legible, then it will be accepted.  If the image is distorted or illegible it will be returned to the Volunteer Participant.  Most copiers make scanned PDFs.  This is Metro’s preferred method. Remember we cannot accept photos or .jpg files of your report.

Q: What is considered an Other charge?

A:  Any expense that is accrued by the vehicle in a traveling month that is paid for by the ridership and not reimbursed by your vehicle supplier would qualify as an Other charge. For example, if you purchase a Wi-Fi hotspot for the vehicle this would be a valid Other charge. If you get an oil change for the vehicle and your Vehicle Supplier reimburses you for the expense, then do not include it with your monthly expenses.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions about the Metro Vanpool Program Monthly Vanpool Report Policy, please contact the Metro Vanpool Program Help desk at 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net.

Appendix 1: Defined Terms

These are the definitions of the terms used in this document.

Term Definition

Volunteer Participant

The primary driver or lease holder with whom Metro has executed a Metro Vanpool Program Participation Agreement to operate a vanpool in public service.

Vehicle Supplier

The organization that rents or leases vanpool vehicles to qualified Volunteer Participants providing vehicle repair, maintenance, insurance, and lease fare collection.

Normal Commute Service Day

A day when the vehicle operates in at least one direction in commuter service along its scheduled route, at its scheduled time, with more than one passenger.

Final Notice email

Once we have processed all reports received at Metro, we will send an email to those Volunteer Participants who have yet to submit a complete and valid Monthly Vanpool Report.  The email will contain the final deadline to submit your report.  Any reports received after the final deadline cannot be accepted.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

In-Take

The period in which Metro accepts Monthly Vanpool Reports.  It begins on the last day of the reporting month and extends to the third business day of the following month.

Final Extended In-Take

The period after In-Take closes before the final deadline.  It begins on the fourth business day of the following month and ends on the final deadline as announced in the Final Notice email.

Appendix 2: Partial Month Subsidy Calculation

To calculate the prorated subsidy, Metro will total the number of days the vanpool operated in Normal commute service.  We will add in any Metro observed holidays to that total.  The total number of days is then divided by 30.  The result is multiplied by the normal approved subsidy amount.  The product is the prorated subsidy.  See Equation 1 below.

Equation 1: Prorated subsidy equation

Prorated subsidy equation

For a list of Metro observed holidays, see Metro Vanpool Program Calendar.

Prorated subsidy examples

Two examples of a prorated subsidy follow.

A vanpool operated Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday the first week of November. It also operated Monday to Friday of the second week, including operations on Veteran’s day. There were no other days of operation in the month. The Volunteer Participant would receive credit for three days the first week, five days for the second week, and the two other Metro observed holidays in November: Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving.  The total approved subsidy for this vanpool is $400, and the prorated subsidy would be $133.33.

Subsidy example

Another vanpool operated Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for each of the first three weeks of August.  There were no other days of operation in the month.  The Volunteer Participant would receive credit for three days for each of the first three weeks or nine days.  There are no Metro observed holidays in August. The total approved subsidy for this vanpool is $350, and the prorated subsidy would be $105.00.

prorated subsidy example #2

Updated November 2017

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