If you work far from home, have limited access to public transit, or simply want to cut down on your driving, vanpooling may be the ideal commuting option for you! Sharing a ride in a 7- or 15-person van allows you to relax, read the day's news or even catch a little extra shut-eye during your commute.
511NY Rideshare offers free commuter vanpool services including ridematching, corporate vanpool formation, route planning and assistance. Simply click here to register and get started!
We consult with you about your commute. Next, we match you to an existing vanpool or help you form a new one. Simply provide basic information about your traveling preferences, the origin and destination for your commute trip, and you'll be on your way to an instant ridematch!
Visit the Carpooling Tips page to ensure a smooth ride for your vanpool.
- Set ground rules. Agree upfront on personal preferences such as choice of radio stations, smoking and eating in the van.
- Select drivers who are responsible and enthusiastic.
- Determine locations for pickup and drop-off. Park & Ride lots are a great place to meet.
- Schedule times for pickups and departures. Set a lateness policy for both drivers and passengers.
- Fuel up. Drivers should fill the tank with enough gas for the roundtrip journey before picking up passengers.
- Be on time to meet in the morning and after work. This applies to both drivers and riders.
- Exchange information with fellow vanpoolers, including work, home, mobile phone numbers and emergency contacts. Elect a person to be the contact for early morning calls regarding absences or delays.
- Avoid errands or personal detours.
- Allow extra time during inclement weather.
- Drive carefully. The driver should always make sure passengers feel that they are in good hands.
- Keep the van clean. Take all personal belongings, including newspapers and trash with you.
- Notify fellow vanpoolers a day or more in advance if you will not be riding in the pool. Notify others right away if you are taking a sick day or have a personal emergency.
There are several ways to acquire a van for vanpooling: the driver can use his/her own van, the vanpool can agree to lease a van, or a company could offer a van to its employees (for free or for a cost). In a lease, vanpool passengers contribute fares to cover the cost of the van lease, vehicle maintenance, fuel, tolls and parking. In most vanpools, the passengers pay for the driver's share of the monthly cost. Typically, fares are based on the number of passengers, the roundtrip mileage, tolls, average fuel prices, etc. Even after all is said and done, passengers usually end up saving money when they vanpool as opposed to driving alone.
Ready to join a vanpool? Register for ridematching or call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare." We will cross-reference your traveling preferences with those of existing vanpools with room for additional riders. If no vanpools are available, we'll work with you to investigate other ridesharing opportunities, including riding transit, carpooling or starting a new vanpool.
Do you like to drive? Do you want to commute for free? Would you like to have access to a van on nights and weekends for personal use?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, why not become a vanpool driver? Drivers typically enjoy "free" commuting, as passengers pay for the drivers' share of the monthly costs, including fares, tolls and refueling. Drivers also may use the van during off-hours and over the weekends for their own personal needs.
As the driver, your responsibilities include the following:
- Picking up and driving your passengers to and from the vanpool's destination
- Taking the van for scheduled (or unscheduled) maintenance appointments
- Keeping trip and usage logs
- Making sure the van is clean, fueled and well-maintained
If you're interested in becoming a vanpool driver, send us an email or call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare."
Q. What is vanpooling?
A. A vanpool comprises 7–15 commuters who want to save money, to reduce stress and to help preserve the environment by commuting to and from work in a van. Vanpooling is the least expensive way of commuting when travelling long distances—at least 30 miles roundtrip. As a vanpooler, you can receive personalized customer support from 511NY Rideshare. To join, register for ridematching.
Q. How does vanpooling work?
A. The van is owned or leased by a vanpool participant or an employer, or contracted on a month-to-month basis from a third-party vendor. One member of the vanpool volunteers to drive, while riders share the cost of operating the vanpool. In most cases, the driver rides free and has personal use of the van during the evenings and on weekends. The other participants pay a low monthly fare. For more information on the different types of vanpool arrangements, call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare."
Q. Are there any carpools or vanpools coming from my area?
A. Today, many people travel far distances to get where they need to go, so there is a high probability that there are others in your area who want to share a ride. When you enter the 511NY Rideshare ridematching system, you will be included in a database with thousands of other commuters and travelers interested in ridesharing. You will receive a matchlist with the names and phone numbers of the people with whom you are matched. Note that home addresses are never included on the matchlists, and it is your choice whether or not your phone numbers are included.
Q. How can I join a vanpool?
A. To find a vanpool, complete our online registration form or call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare."
Q. What if my schedule is irregular?
A. Those with irregular schedules are better candidates for carpooling than vanpooling. Even if there is just one day a week when you travel during more regular hours, you could arrange a carpool for that particular day. More people have flexible hours, so you might be able to match up with someone in a situation similar to your own.
Q. What if I need a vehicle during the day?
A. Be the designated driver of your vanpool and drive every day.
Q. What if I need to take my child to daycare?
A. Try making the daycare center the meeting place for your vanpool or meet at a centralized location, such as a Park & Ride lot.
Q. What if I need to leave work unexpectedly?
A. Participate in 511NY Rideshare's Guaranteed Ride Program. Our Guaranteed Ride Program is your "insurance policy" for ridesharing situations like these. If you are a registered participant in the program, 511NY Rideshare will pay for your ride to your destination in the case of an emergency (limitations apply). For more information, call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare."
- Savings on gas and parking
- Discounted tolls at designated bridges in the tri-state area
- Less wear and tear on your vehicle
- More time for riders to be productive during commute
- Perks for drivers
- Access to HOV lanes, where available
- Consistent travel times and routes
- Preferred parking at employer lots, where applicable
- Improved air quality
If people at your employer or organization are interested in vanpooling, we can visit your site to explain how to set up vanpools. We will:
- Provide information on van types and fares
- Discuss liability-free insurance coverage
- Explain our simple maintenance plan
- Explain our "no-hassle" licensing and registration procedures
- Coordinate vanpool group formation
- Train the drivers and backup drivers
- Discuss vanpool tips and etiquette
- Facilitate choice of pickup points and times
511NY Rideshare offers route planning and other assistance to launch and to maintain successful vanpool groups and help match riders with existing vanpools. We will:
- Help you determine the basic vanpool route, pickup and drop-off times and convenient meeting places such as Park & Ride lots or shopping centers
- Provide a Guaranteed Ride Program, which is a program that will get you home in case of an accident, illness or family emergency (limitations apply)
- Offer toll-free customer support through 511 to assist in rider recruitment and resolution of any issues that arise
For more information, call 511 and say "Rideshare." Out-of-state travelers can call 888-GO511NY (888-465-1169), select a region (Hudson Valley/Catskills, Long Island, New York City Metro) and then say "Rideshare."