Vanpooling program participation up
A group of Fort Riley civilians and Soldiers share a van pool to travel to and from work. Vanpooling offers cost-saving and environmental benefits.
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Story by: Parker Rome
1ST INF. DIV. POST
The number of van pools at Fort Riley has almost tripled since the program began last June.
The growth is more than what was expected by Laura Morris, traffic management specialist, Directorate of Logistics.
"It's grown to be quite successful," she said. "We started out with six vans, and now we're soon going to be up to 17 with a little over 100 passengers."
Vanpooling is available to all employees on Fort Riley. Army civilians and military personnel are eligible for the Mass Transit Benefit that allows employees to receive a tax-free subsidy up to $230 a month for utilizing the vanpooling program, Morris said.
Vanpool passengers estimate they save between $100 and $300 a month by participating in the program.
"The riders themselves benefit from the cost savings on fuel, the wear and tear on their vehicle, insurance – especially for those who are commuting from quite the distance since they can change their privately owned vehicle to a recreation vehicle," Morris said. "For the installation, it reduces traffic congestion and parking problems, and it's good for the environment. Everybody benefits."
Sandy Barber, Irwin Army Community Hospital, said she was hesitant to participate at first, but convinced herself and others that it just made sense.
"Your obligation is minimal, and your returns are dollars in your pocket," she said. "The process is easy, and the company is great."
Riders have been very happy to participate with the program.
"I love it," said Christine Seets, who is in a vanpool from Abilene. "When the weather is bad, I'm not alone. When I don't feel well, someone else can drive."
"It's a great concept," said Monte Duncan, a server technician for Network Enterprise Center. "I completely support the idea. It saves us money and decreases the carbon footprint in this area."
Pools currently commute to Fort Riley from Abilene, Clay Center, Manhattan, Wamego, Herington, Wakefield, Marysville and Tonganoxie.
Morris said a few people from Topeka are interested in starting a pool, but more riders are still needed.
To participate, contact Morris at 785-239-6506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.