Vanpool gives SF State employees a new option for carpooling

SF State is partnering with 511 SF Bay and Enterprise Rideshare to bring vanpooling to campus employees starting March 1. Employees can join a Vanpool and commute from Contra Costa County, AlamedaCounty and San Mateo County.

Enterprise Vanpool is gathering groups of employees commuting to and from the same general area and providing safe and reliable alternative transportation. Vanpoolers are able to organize a meet-up time that works for everyone involved and provides the most efficient ride to and from work.

“I’m sure it will save a lot of money and time, because going to work right now is really a hustle,” said Frances Hui, fiscal and personnel specialist at SF State, who commutes from Oakley.

According to a flyer handed out at the meeting, the average cost per passenger is $90 to $140 a month. Employees of SF State are eligible to use up to $255 in pretax incentives through Commuter Check Direct each month.

According to the flyer, Enterprise vans are available for lease and can seat up to 15 riders. Vans are insured by Enterprise with roadside assistance, and maintenance is included in the fixed price of leasing the vehicle. SF State also provides coverage of the Guaranteed Ride Home program. The Guaranteed Ride program insures every vanpooler a ride home in the case of personal or scheduling emergencies. The fixed price does not include the cost of fuel.

“Some of our staff, myself included, who live pretty far away – all the way out in East Contra Costa County – so for us to get enough people together to make Vanpooling worthwhile is going to be a little bit of a challenge,” said Brian Beatty, associate vice president of academic affairs. “As traffic continues to get worse, and BART prices go up, I think we’re all looking for options like this.”

The San Francisco Bay Area had the third worst traffic congestion in the U.S. in 2014, a Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INTRIX report found. According to the report, Bay Area residents spend an average of 78 hours in traffic.

“People that have been vanpooling for years, what keeps them in it, it isn’t the amount of money they save,” said Sara Gryka, from Enterprise Rideshare. “It’s the amount of stress, not driving every single day, and being able to take a nap when you get off work.”

SF State Parking & Transportation will designate free and premium parking spaces on campus for the program.