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Metro Vanpool Program Policy

Metro Vanpool Program Policy

The Metro Vanpool Program requires that all Volunteer Participants maintain a minimum occupancy of 55%. The purpose of this document is to explain how and when Metro calculates occupancy and the consequences to vanpools that operate below our minimum requirement.

Metro calculates the occupancy for every vanpool, every month.  Every calendar quarter we review each vanpool’s occupancy for all the three months.  Those vanpools that have at least one month in the calendar quarter with occupancy at or above Metro’s minimum occupancy are deemed in compliance with the Metro Vanpool Program Participation Guidelines.

Those vanpools that have occupancy below our minimum in all three months of a calendar quarter shall be warned of their noncompliance with the Metro Vanpool Program Participation Guidelines.  Those vanpools that have occupancy below our minimum in each of the six months of two consecutive calendar quarters shall have their Metro Vanpool Program Agreements terminated.

Questions about the Metro Vanpool Program Occupancy 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

Occupancy policy

All of Metro’s service offerings have minimum performance standards.  Vanpools are no exception. To enroll in the Metro Vanpool Program you need to have a minimum of 70% occupancy. Once enrolled, Metro’s minimum occupancy requirement for vanpools is 55%. In order to be enrolled in the Metro Vanpool Program, vehicles will have at least seven seats (as measured by the number of belted positions) and a maximum of 15. In Table 1 below we list the number of passengers you need to average to meet our minimum occupancy standards both at enrollment and to maintain your Metro Vanpool Program agreement.  Metro periodically reviews our occupancy minimums and they are subject to change.

Table 1 : Average number of daily passengers by vehicle size

Number of seats in your vehicle... To enroll in the Metro Vanpool Program, You will need at least… To maintain your Metro Vanpool Program enrollment you will need to average…
7 5 registered passengers 3.9 passengers per day
8 6 registered passengers 4.4 passengers per day
9 7 registered passengers 5.0 passengers per day
10 7 registered passengers 5.5 passengers per day
11 8 registered passengers 6.1 passengers per day
12 9 registered passengers 6.6 passengers per day
13 10 registered passengers 7.2 passengers per day
14 10 registered passengers 7.7 passengers per day
15 11 registered passengers 8.3 passengers per day

For example, if you have an eight-passenger vehicle you need six registered passengers to enroll, and about five passengers per day to maintain. If you operate the van with only four passengers one day, you will need to offset that underperforming day with a day of five passengers.

Use Table 2 below to find the right sized vehicle for you.  Find the row that best approximates the average number of passengers you have each day.  Then match the vehicle size that fits your needs.  Look for the green boxes.

Table 2 : Minimum Maintence Occupancy percentages by vehicle size

Number of Passengers Vehicle Size
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1 14% 13% 11% 10% 9% 8% 8% 7% 7%
2 29% 25% 22% 20% 18% 17% 15% 14% 13%
3 43% 38% 33% 30% 27% 25% 23% 21% 20%
4 57% 50% 44% 40% 36% 33% 31% 29% 27%
5 71% 63% 56% 50% 45% 42% 38% 36% 33%
6 86% 75% 67% 60% 55% 50% 46% 43% 40%
7 100% 88% 78% 70% 64% 58% 54% 50% 47%
8 100% 89% 80% 73% 67% 62% 57% 53%
9 100% 90% 82% 75% 69% 64% 60%
10 100% 91% 83% 77% 71% 67%
11 100% 92% 85% 79% 73%
12 100% 92% 86% 80%
13 100% 93% 87%
14 100% 93%
15 100%

Calculation method

We calculate a vanpool’s monthly occupancy by totaling the number of passengers that rode in to work for the entire month, divide by the number of operating days, and then divide by the number of seats in the vehicle.  See the equation below.

The number of seats in your vehicle is based on the number of belted positions. Metro uses the number of seats in the vehicle you are in at the time of calculation. If you move to a larger or smaller vehicle your Vehicle Supplier with notify Metro of the change.

Calculation timing

Occupancy is calculated every month and evaluated every quarter.  If a vanpool has been in operation less than three months during a quarter, its occupancy is not evaluated.

Vanpools that were in operation all three months during a quarter are divided into two groups: 1) vanpools that were in compliance the prior quarter or new and 2) vanpools that were on the prior quarter’s warning list.

Vanpools previously in compliance

For those vanpools currently enrolled for all three months of the calendar quarter and that were new or not previously on the warning list, Metro calculates the monthly occupancy for all three months.  If one or more of the months exceeds the minimum threshold of 55% then the vanpool is deemed in compliance.

If a vanpool’s monthly occupancy is below our minimum for all three months, the vanpool shall be under occupancy warning.  The effective date of the warning is the last day of the quarter.  Metro will send a warning letter (via US Postal Service) to the enrolled Volunteer Participant informing them that their vanpool is under occupancy warning.  Metro will also notify the Volunteer Participant’s Vehicle Supplier of their warning status.

Any vanpool that receives an occupancy warning letter will need to operate at or above our minimum occupancy in any one of the three months in the next calendar quarter.  See Table 3 below for a list of the dates associated with the warning letters.

Table 3 : Low occupancy warning schedule

If you operate below 55% occupancy every month during this period... Metro will send a warning letter on this date... Your compliance period will be...
January – March April 25 April – June
April – June July 25 July – September
July – September October 25 October – December
October – December January 25 January – March

For example, if a vanpool started on January 1, and had occupancy of 52% in January, 45% in February, and 50% in March, that vanpool would be added to the warning list as of March 30. The Volunteer Participant would receive a warning letter on approximately April 25. In this example, the underperforming vanpool would need to have one month at or above our minimum occupancy of 55% in any one month in the second calendar quarter: April, May, or June.

Vanpools under occupancy warning

For those vanpools currently enrolled for all three months of the calendar quarter and that were previously under occupancy warning, Metro calculates the monthly occupancy for all three months.  If one or more of the months exceeds the minimum occupancy of 55% then the vanpool is taken off its warning status.

If a vanpool’s monthly occupancy is below our minimum occupancy of 55% for six months in a row, the Metro Vanpool Program Agreement shall be terminated. See Table 4 below for a list of the dates associated with compliance and termination.

Table 4 : Low occupancy compliance schedule

If you are under warning after this period... This is your compliance period... If you fail to have one month at 55% or more during the compliance period, this will be your agreement termination date...
January – March April – June August 31
April – June July – September November 30
July – September October – December February 28
October – December January – March May 31

For example, if a vanpool started on January 1, and had occupancy of 52% in January, 45% in February, and 50% in March, that vanpool would be under occupancy warning as of March 30. The Volunteer Participant would receive a warning letter on approximately April 25. If the vanpool had occupancy of 50% in April, 52% in May, and 49% in June, the vanpool would have failed our occupancy test six months in a row. This vanpool would be given at least 30 days’ notice of their Metro Vanpool Program Agreement termination as of August 31.

Another example, if a vanpool started on January 1, and had occupancy of 52% in January, 45% in February, and 50% in March, that vanpool would be under occupancy warning as of March 30. The Volunteer Participant would receive a warning letter on approximately April 25. If the vanpool had occupancy of 71% in April, 62% in May, and 49% in June, the vanpool would have met our minimum occupancy requirement during one month of the second quarter. This vanpool would come off the warning list.

Re-enrollment

If your Metro Vanpool Program Agreement is terminated, you may be eligible to re-enroll.  Metro encourages vanpools terminated for low occupancy to re-enroll if the circumstances that led to the termination change.  For example, a change of circumstance might be, if the vanpool moves to a smaller vehicle or adds additional passengers.

To re-enroll follow the steps below.  Please note, if a vanpool is terminated for low occupancy it will be out of the Metro Vanpool Program for a minimum of one month.

Steps to re-enroll

First, you will need to submit a complete, valid, and legible Monthly Vanpool Report for your final month of operation.  Second, you will need to respond to all outstanding requests for information, such as a Vanpool Update form request or an Audit, if any.  Third, you will need to request and complete a new Metro Vanpool Program Application and Agreement.

Request the application by sending an email to vanpool@metro.net .  Be sure to include your name, your vehicle number, and a phone number where you can be reached during business hours.  See Table 5 below for a schedule of dates associated with low occupancy termination and re-enrollment.

Table 5 : Low occupancy termination and re-enrollment timeline

If your low occupancy termination date was... Submit your final Monthly Vanpool Report by the 3rd business day of... Submit an application during the first two weeks of... Earliest you could be re-enrolled...
August 31 September September October 1
November 30 December December January 1
February 28 March March April 1
May 31 June June July 1

For example, if your occupancy termination was effective November 30, you first need to submit your Monthly Vanpool Report for November.  Do so by the third business day of December.  Once we have received your final Monthly Vanpool Report, your existing account will be completely closed.  At this point, you become eligible to re-enroll.  During the first two weeks of December we are collecting applications for a January 1 enrollment.

Frequently asked questions

Q: One of my passengers was on a six-week medical leave.
May I get an exception to the Occupancy policy?

A: We are sorry to hear that your passenger was on a medical leave. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to the Occupancy Policy. We understand that life’s events may take a passenger away from a vanpool temporarily. That is why we only look at occupancy every quarter. You only have to have one month out of three to avoid the warning. If you do receive a warning, you only need to have one compliant month in the following calendar quarter to get off the warning list.

Q: I have some people on a wait list to join the vanpool.
Can they fill in days when one of my regular passengers is away?

A: Yes. Part-time riders are a great way to fill empty seats.

Q: Some days our van operates with only one or two passengers.
This hurts my average. What should I do?

A: If you are only going to have a few riders on a given day, you might want to carpool instead.  Metro calculates your occupancy percentage based on the number days you actually operate the vehicle.  See Calculation Method .

Q: If we move to a smaller van, will that help our occupancy percentage?

A: Yes. If your van has eight or more belted seats you can move to a smaller vehicle. Contact your Vehicle Supplier. See Table 2 for a vehicle size guide.

Q: What if I start lying on my Monthly Vanpool Reports?

A: When a Volunteer Participant signs the Monthly Vanpool Report they are certifying that the information is true and correct.  If Metro suspects a Volunteer Participant is submitting fraudulent Monthly Vanpool Reports we will refer those cases to our Office of Inspector General.

Q: You say this is a seven-passenger vehicle, but only six adults could ever fit.

A: Metro is bound by the Federal standards for vanpools. The smallest eligible vanpool vehicle has seven belted positions. If your current vehicle does not meet the minimum comfort requirements of your passengers, contact your Vehicle Supplier. They may have other vehicle options that better meet your needs.

Q: My agreement was terminated for low occupancy. Can I re-enroll?

A: Yes.  You are eligible to re-enroll once your existing account is completely closed out.  Meaning all outstanding Monthly Vanpool Report and Audits have been accepted by Metro.  No matter what, any vanpool terminated for low occupancy will be out of the Metro Vanpool Program for at least one month.  See Re-enrollment for more details.

Contact us

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

Last updated October 2017

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