Rideshare Office Sees Surge in Interest in Carpools, Public Transit

Rideshare Office Sees Surge in Interest in Carpools, Public Transit
The Rideshare Office helps faculty and staff who want to carpool, join a vanpool or use public transportation.

At the intersection of two seemingly unrelated events, the Rideshare Office finds itself in one of the busiest seasons it has ever seen. With gas prices averaging $4.50 and most Cal Poly Pomona employees working the 4/10 schedule, many faculty and staff are discovering carpools, vanpools and public transportation for the first time.

“Everyone is coming out of the woodwork,” says Donna Pearson, the office's administrative assistant. “I keep signing up people left and right. It's a huge revival.”

In June, the office signed up 19 new members, a huge increase considering 10 new participants in a month is cause for celebration.

The Rideshare Office connects Cal Poly Pomona employees interested in carpools or vanpools with other employees who live in their area. They also help faculty, staff and students find the best bus or rail route to campus. The Office has about 500 members in its roster, and around 300 participate each month. Some people travel as far as Highland Park, Long Beach and Beaumont.

The escalating cost of gas prompted Long Beach resident Daisy Thompson, executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs, to start looking for a carpool partner a couple of months ago. With Pearson's help, she found an I&IT staff member who lives about a mile away, and they started carpooling in June.

“It's been great. The biggest benefit, besides saving the gas money, is you can use the carpool lane,” Thompson says. “I'd say it cuts down 20 minutes each way.”

Another popular alternative is the vanpool, which carries up to 12 people from as far as Riverside, Hesperia and Victorville. Much like a personalized bus service, riders meet at a set time and place every morning.

“It's the best deal,” says Rideshare coordinator Dave Flores. Instead of spending up to $500 on gas a month, vanpoolers pay $60 to $100 a month to cover the van's expenses.

Eager to help people save money, the environment or their peace of mind, Flores and Pearson will go the extra mile to help someone find a carpool buddy or the right bus route. Sometimes, they'll ride an unfamiliar bus route to find out where it goes and where it stops, just in case someone asks.

“Dave and Donna's enthusiasm for and commitment to the Rideshare program is one reason for its success,” adds Thompson.

The office's next project is to open a shuttle service from two Metrolink stations to campus. Flores hopes to offer free, direct shuttles from the Metrolink stations that don't have convenient bus transfers to Cal Poly Pomona.

The Rideshare Office offers reimbursements on parking fees, preferred parking spaces and free Bronco Bucks. Faculty and staff can also receive subsidies on bus and rail tickets. Full-time students may purchase discount passes for public transportation. Employees who sign up on the carpool online database by July 31 will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gas card.

For more information, visit www.dsa.cpp.edu/parking/rideshare.asp