There are three kinds of vanpools:
RideSmart assists commuters in forming vanpools through the Rideshare Program Commuter Connections. We encourage vanpools to register with the database so we can assist in supporting their vanpools when they are starting new ones and/or need help in filling vacant seats.
VanStart and Vansave
RideSmart also participates in the Virginia Vanpool Assistance Program. The Virginia Vanpool Assistance Program, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, provides temporary funding for vanpools having trouble filling all of their seats.
There are two different programs: the VanStart Program, which funds empty seats during the critical start-up phase of new vanpools; and the VanSave Program, which is for existing vanpools that are experiencing problems in their passenger levels due to the loss of riders.
- Less stress commuting to and from work
- Financial saving
- Increased free time for riders
- Possible shorter time on the road with the help of HOV lanes
If you want to form your own vanpool, or if you would like to contact vanpool companies for assistance, the following information may be of service:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who can apply for funding assistance?
Anyone operating a vanpool that services residents of the State of Virginia can apply for assistance. The vanpool must be a non-profit operation and have a seating capacity of no less than 6 and no more than 14 (excluding the driver). The vanpool operator must certify that the van has PV plates and is appropriately insured under a Commercial Auto Policy or Vanpool Policy and registered with the local jurisdiction’s rideshare agency.
Are there any special requirements?
Yes. Since the VanStart Program is for new vanpools and the VanSave Program is for existing vanpools, there are some differences in the eligibility requirements:
VanStart: The owner/operator must register the vanpool and apply for assistance within the first three months of operation with the local jurisdiction’s rideshare agency.
VanSave: The vanpool must have been in operation for a minimum of six months and may not have received any state assistance funds in the past 12 months.At least 25% of the paying passenger capacity must have been empty for more than 30 days at time of application.The amount of funding is based on the average cost per seat of your vanpool and the average cost per seat of similar vanpools traveling within comparable distance and market parameters.
Can you help me find new riders?
Yes. As part of a region-wide network of commuter assistance agencies, this local rideshare agency can provide the latest up-to-date information on commuters interested in riding in a vanpool.