“If you would have asked me a year ago when we took the survey if this would actually get going… it was wishful thinking. When we heard it was going to start, I was on cloud nine. The group from the Women’s Employment Project, Inc. along with Fred Young have been so great and they have been working so hard on this. I’m grateful this is finally happening and hope more businesses catch the wave and jump on board as well.” – Kendra Dragseth
Women’s Employment Project, Inc.’s (WEP), Door County Transportation Options Program has started the first ever Door County employment van pool. Through funding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Kim McClure, Program Coordinator, has started working with Good Samaritan Scandia Village to solicit riders and volunteer drivers. The van pool is funded until the end of 2009 with plans on expanding services in 2010.
Fred Young of Young Automotive has played a big role in getting the van pool established. In addition to leasing and maintaining the van, Young Automotive will be donating a local match to the van pool program each month. This is greatly appreciated.
The “Van Pool to Work” program offers a more affordable form of transportation to and from work plus a reduction in pollution and fuel usage, the equivalent of 14 fewer vehicles on the road daily. When driving a personal vehicle, a 30 mile one-way commute costs $35.10 per day or $8,775 per year per driver (these figures are based on the IRS rate dated 7/1/08). At this time, the average van pool rider pays $20 a week, a savings of $7,735 annually. Additionally, 10 riders in the van, 5 days a week, puts $77,350 back into Door County’s economy and less daily vehicle emissions polluting the county’s air.
On April 14, 2009, the van officially took to the road with riders. The van pool accommodates up to 15 passengers, including the driver and runs seven days a week with a minimum of three riders daily. Currently, the starting point is in Sturgeon Bay taking employees to work in Sister Bay in plenty of time for their 6 am shift. At this time, the van makes one stop along the way. Return route leaves Sister Bay at 2:30 pm and ends in Sturgeon Bay. Rider fares are based on mileage and number of riders. Riders who are within the 200% Federal Poverty limits are eligible to apply for a rider fare discount and are given seating priority. Open seats are available to individuals with income above this guideline.
Unsure about sharing a ride in case a worker needs to leave work unexpectedly? WEP Inc has thought of this too. A Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) membership is offered to van pool riders or residents who car pool. For $25 per year, a GRH member can receive up to 2 emergency rides home per year.
There are many ways to become involved in the Van Pool Program. As an employer, you can offer or encourage this service to your employees, or make a service or monetary donation to the local match required. As an individual, you may want to become a rider or driver, become part of the match, or just help spread the word to someone who may benefit from this service. To learn more about the Van Pool Program, you may contact Kim McClure at 920.743.6915 ext 110 or stop by the Door County Job Center, 1300 Egg Harbor Road, Suite 124 in the Cherry Point Mall, Sturgeon Bay.