Park & Rides gain popularity amid high gas prices

FRESNO, Calif.

They're on busy streets, or off the side of the road, but these days many people are stopping here, and hopping in with someone else to save on gas.

"I just got gas in Auberry and it costs $4.49, and I thought 'oh my goodness, are we gonna reach the $5?'" Phyllis Lewis said.

Phyllis Lewis and her family members use the park and ride off 145 and 41 in Madera County a few times a week, and she says these days, they're not alone.

"We figure out who's going to town and then we try to make it a one day thing where we all go together and save some gas money," Lewis said.

She notices other families doing the same thing, and earlier in the morning she sees car and van pools full of people heading to work together.

"The main intent is to have people be able to carpool. Save gasoline, save time, and help the environment as far as all the different emissions we have here in the San Joaquin Valley," Gloria Rodriguez of Caltrans said.

Caltrans officials say transportation funds helped them create two new Park & Rides, one off 180 and Fowler and one off of Highway 180 and McCall.

It was perfect timing as they were ready for us before gas prices started climbing.

"I'm sure right now at this point everyone is a little more diligent as far as being able to save that extra dollar and using our park and ride is a really good way to do that," Rodriguez said.

Caltrans doesn't coordinate carpools but Valley Rides does.

They match people through an online database and also suggest you ask your employer or your co-workers to join in.

In the meantime, frequent rider Phyllis Lewis uses the Park & Rides so much that she's got some suggestions for Caltrans.

"I think it would be a good plus if there were restrooms for the convenience for the people who are car pooling and using the parking areas as a parking spot," Lewis said.

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