Van Pools: New Friends & New Savings

March 20, 2008 8:43:12 PM PDT
Not everyone's feeling the pinch at the pump these days, hard to believe with the price of gas averaging $3.61 for a gallon of unleaded in Fresno $3.65 in Merced, and $3.66 in Visalia. That's near-record-high prices everywhere.Some people are finding ways to save hundreds of dollars on gas and even making new friends in the process.

Darla white is out the door and in her van at 7:20 each morning.

Darla White: "I love it, I would not, and I can't even imagine driving myself to work by myself anymore. I'm used to driving a bunch of people to work."

That's because she's been ridesharing for three years from her home in northwest Fresno to her job downtown.

Darla White: "I save wear and tear on my vehicle I don't have to use my car to get to work. We pool our money for gas and right there that is huge savings."

She and her fellow riders split the cost of gas and renting this enterprise van each paying about 55 a month thanks to a special subsidy program thru Fresno Area Express.

Darla White: "Allright we'll be there in a minute, bye. He's like, 'are you guys driving today or what?"

According to Enterprise about 600 people are riding their van pools in the Fresno area. The estimated cost is $100-$140 a month, per person, plus the cost of fuel.

Saving money on gas is not the only perk of van pooling. Take a look at this parking lot or this one near the Fresno County Courthouse. Never worrying about finding a place to park is another big plus.

Darla White: "It's just clean air I'm taking six cars that aren't driving their way downtown less parking car spaces; we're saving it for other people that come downtown because we're only taking one spot instead of six."

Darla makes 2-3 stops during the 10 mile drive and while sharing her ride took a little getting used to, she now uses the time to share stories and catch-up on her favorite TVshows.

"What did Kathy tell me, she goes, David Archuletta is like a little Clay Aiken uh, uh."

For Joyce Turner riding the van pool has an added perk her boss is sure to appreciate.

Joyce Turner, Vanpool Rider: "Usually, when I drive myself to work I'm a little late, but she gets me to work on time."

On time and with money to spare.

"See you all later bye."

Enterprise has seen a 10-percent increase in calls to join or start van pools. There are programs available that offer subsidies to help offset the cost of carpooling. The Air Pollution Control District and the Council of Fresno County Governments give start up money for new van pools.

www.valleyrides.com
559-441-RIDE

www.vanpool.com
1-800-VAN-4WORK

www.valleyair.org
559-230-6000


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