The Nebraska Department of Roads said its Transit Section contracted with Enterprise Rideshare to
develop a statewide commuters' vanpool program.
The June 26 announcement – coming days before the agency's name would change July 1 to the Nebraska Department of Transportation – also said the NDOR had received funding from the USDOT to subsidize eligible vanpools in both rural and urban areas.
Transit Manager Kari Ruse said: "The statewide vanpool program will provide a valuable option in rural areas where public transportation is often limited, as well as in urban areas where traffic congestion is a problem and parking is limited. Both employees and employers will share the benefit of this safe, reliable, cost-effective transportation alternative."
The department explained that a vanpool is a mode of public transportation in which a group of commuters agree to share their ride to work in a vehicle large enough to accommodate 6 to 15 people, with a volunteer driver from within the commuter group.
It said Enterprise Rideshare will provide vans equipped with Wi-Fi and satellite radio, and include 24-hour roadside assistance, include auto liability insurance and scheduled maintenance. "Vanpoolers will also have access to a guaranteed ride-home program, which ensures they can leave work at unscheduled times worry-free," the department said.
It added that "the cost savings for participating in vanpools can be significant. For example, on an average commute of 100 miles per day, this ridesharing option can save individuals up to $10,000 per year by reducing the cost of gas, vehicle maintenance and depreciation."
Some employers may also offer a pre-tax payroll deduction for mass transit, which is allowable under federal tax code, the announcement noted. "In addition, almost all major auto insurance companies offer significant discounts to drivers who designate their vehicle as 'recreation only,' which means using their vehicle for everything but driving to work."
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