For some, saving money at the gas pump means sharing the ride to work

Inflation in the Puget Sound region has spiked by 10.1 percent over the past year, with the price of gas rising 48.4 percent year-over-year. As people in Snohomish County look for ways to save money, some are finding a lesser-known local public transit option: commuter vanpool service.

Snohomish County-based Community Transit has seen a growing interest in its Vanpool program.

“We’re hearing more and more from people looking to save money. They’re thinking about gas and wear and tear on their vehicle, or maybe getting rid of a car they only use to get to work. They’re so excited when they hear about Vanpool and what we can do for them,” says Vanpool Customer Service & Sales Specialist Kristen Ryan.

Community Transit’s Vanpool service provides groups of three or more with a van they can use to commute together. The low monthly fare covers all vehicle-related expenses, including a comfortable and clean van, gas, insurance, maintenance, and an alternate ride home in an emergency.

Vanpool riders split the cost of the monthly fare. Many local employers also cover some or all of the cost of taking Vanpool, adding even more savings.

Vanpool rider Jonathan Blank, who works for the Safeway Seattle Division, had been commuting to Bellevue from Snohomish County for more than 15 years when he decided to try Vanpool.

“My commute is more enjoyable taking Vanpool,” Blank says. “We all work at the same location, so it gives us a little time to decompress from our workday on the way home. On top of that, we get home faster due to the HOV lane use, and it saves us time and money.”

Vanpools can use carpool lanes and may get preferred parking at many work sites. They also have access to priority ferry boarding and can bypass certain tolls, which is a big draw for people looking to reduce the time and stress of commuting.

“Taking Vanpool has helped me be smarter about my carbon footprint — where I drive and when — especially with the current cost of fuel,” says Blank.

To qualify for a Community Transit Vanpool, your commute must start or end at a location within Snohomish County. Anyone who qualifies can either join an existing vanpool or start their own.

Community Transit’s Vanpool team is available to provide assistance to anyone interested in learning more about Vanpool.

“We are here, and we’re real people who are ready to help you. We can walk you through your options and help you find a vanpool to join or start your own. Getting started really isn’t hard, and people love their Vanpools once they get going,” Ryan says.

Visit communityransit.org/govanpool to learn more.

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