Oct 28, 2008

Delivery of 300th commuter MichiVan marks mass transit milestone

A major milestone in mass transit in Michigan was reached today when the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), along with its partner, VPSI, Inc. of Troy, delivered the 300th commuter van to employees at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

The MichiVan program is statewide vanpool program operated by VPSI, Inc. of Troy managed through a contract with MDOT that began in 1980. A vanpool is a group of five to 15 people who commute on a regular basis. Usually, one person volunteers to be the driver or coordinator of the vanpool and normally rides free, or the riders can as a group choose to rotate drivers. The passengers pay a low monthly fee to VPSI and share the cost of fuel among the riders, and that gas cost is decided by the riders. The more people, the less gas cost. MichiVan typically pays for insurance and repairs to the vehicle.

“One of the best values for your money is riding in a vanpool," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Vanpooling with MichiVan is a cost-effective alternative for commuters who enjoy the convenience of sharing a ride to work. The 2,224 people served by commuter vans each day means there are fewer vehicles on Michigan roads. This is good for the environment - - and good for the pocketbook."

As I have said previously, I ride the Michivan to Lansing, along with 11 other state employees. When we meet in the morning in the park-n-ride lot, there are Michivans coming and going. However, I think we are the only van going to Lansing, and we are the largest. But once in Lansing we are one of about four vans that pick up at the newer Cooley Law School building in downtown Lansing, but we are the smallest van. That will change soon, and we are on the list to get a new, larger van. There is a van that also goes to Livingston County, but it goes to Brighton.

The cost savings and comfort are great, but the benefits to the environment and national security are huge.

Vanpooling saves approximately 152,000 gallons of fuel, reduces about 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and takes 40,430 vehicles off the road each month in Michigan. The typical vanpooler has at least a 30-minute drive or travels more than 10 miles one-way to work.

It’s easy to find a van just by searching online or by calling (800)VAN-RIDE (826-7433).


ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

My wife was looking to join one of these, but was unable to coordinate schedules.

It's a good idea...a train would be better.

Communications guru said...

I agree. That’s the only drawback, but my boss is cool with the hours. Some of my riders travel or have a late meeting on occasion and have to drive their own cars on occasion, but it’s still a good deal. A train would offer some different departure times.