Its small size allows UCLA to offer varied schedules that are tailored for different riders’ needs. For example, UCLA provides fourteen day routes and one off-shift from Palmdale. During the day, vans arrive at UCLA from Palmdale starting at 6AM until 9:30 AM. A more typical example is two to four vans serving an area.
Van pools – like other alternative commute methods - work best if the concerns preventing adoption are resolved. Specifically green commuters who are abandoning the flexibility of their car
- Appreciate a guaranteed ride home in case of an emergency.
- Worry about being stuck during the workday to run errands or get around the large campus. UCLA and many programs provide access to cars when needed. But UCLA has also emphasized that walking is a great alternative for travel on-campus and to run errands to nearby neighborhoods that offer restaurants and services. UCLA is also experimenting with bike loaner program as another way for employees to get around campus and nearby neighborhoods during the workday.
Google and others who operate private bus services do not disclose their precise costs, but back of the envelope estimates comparing bus to van pool indicate that van pools are more cost effective to operate and could therefore be offered by more employers than a bus. Although frequently subsidized [Note 3], employees usually pay toward a van pool while private bus services are frequently offered free of charge.
Van pools are a viable and cost-effective part of a green commute program. [Note 4] Van pools should be implemented in those geographies where public transportation is limited. [Note 5] Without such an alternative, employers with large populations of employees in remote areas will be unable to achieve the gold standard for a greener commute.
Note 1: Many claim the date of first van pools as 1979. The oldest multi-employer vanpool program in the country is in Treasure Valley, home to Boise Idaho. The Seattle King County Commuter Pool was the first publicly financed van pool service in the United States, organized in 1979.
Note 2: Anaheim to UCLA is 44 miles. IRS mileage rate of $0.55 is used in calculations. UCLA one way fare is $7.
Note 3: Monthly fares on a UCLA van pool are subsidized by the University by 34% (compared to non-UCLA employees). Fares range from $109 - $220 per month.
Note 4: UCLA stats
|Car Pool & Van Pool is 6%||12%||16%||32%|
(Walk is 10%)
Note 5: A successful van pool provides proof that sufficient ridership to potentially support public option such as express service
UCLA commute program summary