Some commuters sharing rides to save on gas

FRESNO, Calif.

A gallon of regular now runs $4.24 cents in Fresno, according to gasbuddy.com.

Last week the average was $4.22.

Now some are turning to a program that thousands are using to ease the pain at the pump.

It's a ride share program here in Fresno County.. It started with just a few members, but it's gotten so popular that employers are jumping in, trying to help their employees save money..

Mrs. Sifuentes works at the prison in Corcoran. She and her co-workers meet in Selma, hop in their van, and head off to work together.

"Mainly just the convenience of being able to drive to work and not having to drive everyday, we all take turns," Sifuentes said.

They take turns splitting the gas too. Sifuentes has been doing this for the past six years. She and 13 others got certified to drive and take turns, giving one another a break at the wheel.

What started as a small program has grown into a community of a few thousand - a match made online, a professional relationship meant to save gas and clean the air.

"Anytime you take a vehicle off the road not only are you taking away the emissions but you're also clearing the freeways so they're not as congested," Suzanne Martinez, F.C.O.G. Ride share coordinator Suzanne Martinez said.

That's the aspect coordinator Suzanne Martinez likes the most.

She also likes watching people take advantage of funds made available through Measure C, a half-cent sales tax that provides money for transportation projects and gives incentives to people who Ride-Share.

For instance, if you van pool: "350 dollar a month subsidy for being able to pay the lease, you get parking vouchers, you can get medical expenses because you have to take an exam when you become a driver," Martinez said.

And if you carpool you could win a thousand dollars.

"In order to win you have to have carpooled at least twice in a particular week with another person, at least 18 years old and you have to be coming or going to Fresno County," Martinez said

For Sifuentes, it's ease of mind and time: "we do work a little far, it takes a toll on our vehicles, and especially the gas prices right now you can't beat the van," she said.

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