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Vanpools offer alternative to car, bus commutes in King County

King County Metro Transit has a solution for rising gas prices: Vanpools.

There are currently more than 1,050 vanpools in King County and the number continues to increase. Metro provides the vehicle, rider support services, maintenance, insurance, fuel and tires. Riders provide the driver and pay a monthly fee to participate. Fees are split among group members and are based on round-trip mileage and the number of riders in the van.

Vanpool groups range from five to 15 people who are co-workers or work in the same vicinity.

Lin Chen, of Kent, participates in a vanpool with a group of six co-workers that meet at the south Federal Way Park and Ride and commute to Enumclaw.

Chen said she has participated in similar programs for more than 10 years. She is partly motivated by incentives from her employer. Mutual of Enumclaw contributes $65 monthly for employees who participate in vanpool programs. Participants also get a good parking spot, Chen said.

After her employer’s contribution, Chen said she pays $27 monthly to participate in the program. She saves about $125 in gas each month.

Gas isn’t Chen’s only motive for participating in the vanpools.

“Basically people were enjoying the leisure time,” she said.

“You can read in the van. You can listen to your own music with headphones,” she said. “Sometimes we chat.”

Although saving money on gas isn’t Chen’s main motivation for using the vanpool, she said it is a nice perk.

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Learn more

To learn about King County’s vanpool program, visit www.rideshareonline.com or call (800) 427-8249.

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