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Vanpooling saves commuters time, money

By | Oct. 7, 2010

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A new vanpool service available to people working on Lackland provides travel options for those interested in saving money on daily commuting routes that are not well suited for traditional fixed-route bus service.

The VIA Vanpooling program is part of the larger Department of Defense Mass Transit Benefit Program. There are currently more than 110 active vanpools in San Antonio serving many employers including the military, border patrol and the FBI.

The program saves participants time and money while relieving some of the headaches associated with a daily commute.

"I am thrilled to participate in the VIA vanpool program, said Theresa Reyes, Air Force Services Agency. "Vanpooling has allowed me to virtually eliminate my driving expense to work through savings on gas and maintenance. It (also) helps mitigate the stress of traffic and provides numerous energy savings for our community. It is an awesome opportunity."

Four or more people are needed to begin a new vanpool. Vans are provided by Enterprise Rent-A-Car on a month-to-month basis and are available in models that accommodate seven, 12 or 15 passengers. For people who are not part of a larger group, VIA offers a program to match them with a compatible van pool.

For most military and federal employees, there is no cost for vanpooling. By using vouchers from the Mass Transit Benefit Program, all costs of the van, maintenance, fuel and 24-hour roadside assistance will be covered. Additionally, insurance is provided through VIA Transit.

Participants in vanpools enjoy the benefit of a hassle-free commute to work while saving on fuel and parking costs. In the event of an emergency while at work, a Guaranteed Ride Home program is available to vanpoolers and provides vouchers for local taxi services or use of the VIA bus service.

Before beginning, riders must register a profile with VIA Vanpooling. Online vanpool registration is available on VIA's website at www.viainfo.net, and inquiries can be sent by e-mail to vanpool@viainfo.net.

For information about the program or monthly reimbursement, contact Todd Deane, 671-1910; Master Sgt. Ruben Gonzales, 671-6151; or 2nd Lt. Gregory Brown, 671-2760.
(Courtesy 802nd Comptroller Squadron)