Aug. 18, 2011

Transportation services standardizes vanpool guidelines

by Anne Krapfl

To encourage higher participation for better efficiency and reduce the number of vehicles coming to campus every day, transportation services modified -- and standardized -- the guidelines for its vanpool program, effective July 1. Transportation services manager Kathy Wellik said drivers and riders in each vanpool previously were allowed to set some of their own rules, such as pickup points or the adjusted rate for the driver.

"It proved costly [to the university] to frequently change payroll deductions as a vanpool's membership fluctuated. It also hindered our efforts to recruit new members when each vanpool was run differently," she said. "We think that having consistent rules among all the vanpools may help us grow the program."

The changes

So, on July 1, the following guidelines took effect:

  • Each rider pays a flat fee that will not fluctuate unless a new vehicle is issued to the pool or fuel prices rise dramatically and transportation services needs to implement a fuel surcharge. (In the past, the fee fluctuated with the number of members in a vanpool.)
  • One main driver per vanpool is free
  • Each member receives 10 one-day parking permits to use on campus during the year (additional permits may be purchased in the parking office, Armory)
  • Transportation services guarantees each member a ride home if an emergency occurs

Can I get home if I need to?

Wellik said common deterrents to potential members under the previous system were:

  • Lack of campus parking options for occasional special circumstances
  • Concern about getting home quickly when an emergency arises

"We think the changes will ease their concerns and allow them to enjoy the real benefits of a vanpool -- a relaxing commute to work, a greener way to travel and not worrying about maintaining and fueling their own vehicle," she said.

Currently, about 40 university employees participate in ISU vanpools from Boone, Story City, Roland and Des Moines. Wellik said transportation services would like to start vanpools in additional communities. For more information, contact Wellik, 4-1657, or JoAnn Charlson, 4-0181.