Van Pooling, a less expensive way to get to work Published Dec. 13, 2012 By Lt. Col. Mike Knutson 162nd Fighter Wing Base Environmental Manager Tucson, Az -- Did you know that you could commute to work for FREE? Yes, your employer, the federal government, will provide up to $1,500.00 per year to cover your commute costs if you vanpool or ride the bus. Not only will you commute for free, but you'll save on maintenance costs and wear and tear on your personal vehicle, as well as reduce the stress of driving alone to work each day. Vanpooling, Carpooling or using public transportation reduces parking congestion on base and also helps clean up the air. A vanpool is essentially a large carpool in a leased van. The vans vary in size from a 7 passenger mini-van to a 15 passenger extended van. You will need at least five people to start a vanpool, a primary driver, and one back-up driver. Vanpool members typically meet at a park and ride lot or a shopping mall near everyone's home at a specified time and then drive to work. At the end of the work day all the passengers meet at a designated spot and drive back to the park and ride lot. The vanpool lease can be terminated with a 30 day notice and any passenger can end their participation with a 30 day notice. Vride is offering a FREE two week trial vanpool use for the first vanpool group of over 5 people to request it. Another perk of the program is that Pima County provides a "Guaranteed Ride Home" cab service for employees who use alternate forms of transportation. For more information please visit the vanpool information table on Jan. 12, from 0945 to 1215 at the Dining Facility. Pima Association of Governments/Sun Rideshare and Vride will be there to answer your questions. You can also visit their website at http://www.pagnet.org/tabid/665/default.aspx or contact Sun Rideshare at 884-7433. If you would like more information on the federal government's commuter benefits, please call me at 520-295-6580.