Vanpooling can help both employees and employers find better balance – but what does it look like in real life? Check out our conversation with Jalisa Brown from COMMUTE with Enterprise to see how GCO helps companies of all shapes and sizes across metro Atlanta provide low-cost, reduced-stress commutes for their workers.
In simplest terms: What is vanpooling?
It’s basically a beefed-up carpool – with way more benefits, like not having to use your own car. Groups of four or more people meet up before work and use an Enterprise vehicle to go straight to work, no additional stop required.
The first question on most employers’ minds is: What is vanpooling going to cost?
Vanpool costs are broken down into three parts:
- First, there is a regional vanpool subsidy provided by The Atlanta Transit Link Authority (The ATL). It covers 40% of the vanpool rental rate.
- Second, employers can elect to offer their employees a direct financial subsidy or a pre-tax payroll deduction for vanpool expenses through Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits.
- Third, any remaining cost after transit agency and employer subsidies are applied are divided equally among the number of riders.
Average costs for participants range from $25-$50/week, with fuel included. This can be affected by factors like monthly mileage, number of participants, and the price of fuel per gallon.
If employees are interested but their employer would prefer not to cover the cost, how can the employees take action for themselves?
If employees are interested but their employer would prefer not to cover cost, they can find available vanpools on CommutewithEnterprise.com. If there is not an existing route in their area, the website can save their information for future vanpool matches.
Are there any tax benefits for employers? What about employees?
Yes, there are tax benefits for employers and employees under Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits. This reduces employers’ share of payroll taxes by reducing employees’ taxable income. If an employer is already offering similar benefits for other modes of public transit, I’d highly recommend offering the same for vanpools!
What other companies are vanpooling right now?
Currently, there are vanpools operating at various federal and military sites, public and private employers, and universities.
Who’s the driver? What’s the selection process? How do we get employees interested?
Employees take turns sharing in the driving responsibilities — similar to a carpool, where you want to be fair to all participants. COMMUTE with Enterprise runs an internal MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) check to validate participants’ driving history.
What type of vehicles do they use?
Vanpools range from seven-passenger crossover SUVs to minivans and 12- and 15-passenger vans.
What other benefits could vanpool riders get?
When they take advantage of Georgia Commute Options programs, they can receive financial incentives for referring new riders, plus a guaranteed ride home if unexpected plans keep them from catching their vanpool. Sharing the ride to work helps create a better work/life balance because it gives you back your commuting time. You can use the ride to work to read, relax, or finish breakfast. Employers also find that vanpooling helps reduce their parking volume at worksites.
What does the launch look like?
First, we work with company leadership support to champion commuter benefits within the organization. Then GCO representatives conduct an anonymous mapping analysis to identify potential vanpool routes to and from your team’s homes. Armed with new data, GCO can host Meet Your Match events with employees commuting from the same area, helping interested commuters find vanpool groups. And finally, GCO can be on-site to celebrate the launch of the first vanpool!
Team members will also be available for ongoing promotion of the program to build awareness and provide employers with environment and business impact data based on current vanpool participation.
To learn more about vanpooling and GCO’s incentive programs, visit https://gacommuteoptions.com/commuters/ways-to-get-around/vanpool/