Have you considered a vanpool for your commute?

The transportation services team is finalizing university-sponsored vanpool routes for the new fiscal year and invites employees to review this commuting option.

The basics

Full-time faculty or staff members who work a regular 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. schedule are eligible to join a vanpool as a full-time rider. A vanpool is not intended for short-term or month-to-month ridership. Transportation services coordinates the vanpools and provides the vehicles, either a 15-passenger van, minivan or midsize sedan. The goal is to have at least five riders per route. Drivers, who are vanpool members, work with their passengers to set pick-up and drop-off locations and times. Four routes to campus currently are available, arriving from:

  • Des Moines
  • Urbandale
  • Ankeny
  • Jefferson/Ogden/Boone

Calculating your cost

Transportation services calculates the rider fees based on vehicle type, mileage and number of riders. Riders pay a flat monthly fee via pre-tax payroll deduction. It covers fuel, vehicle depreciation, maintenance, individual parking passes (see below), van parking pass, insurance and program administration. The more riders, the lower the monthly fee.

The perks

Employees said they chose to join a vanpool for the:

  • Cost savings -- that can run into hundreds of dollars each month.
  • Benefits to the environment with fewer vehicles in use.
  • Low-stress commute.
  • Opportunity for relationships among university employees who otherwise might never meet or interact.

A few common questions

Ride sharing isn't for everyone. There are constraints inherent to not having your own vehicle on campus. The transportation services team addresses a few common ones below.

Issue: I don't like not having access to a vehicle during the day. What if I need to leave campus for an emergency?

Response: Transportation services works with vanpool riders in emergency situations. A staff member can bring a university vehicle to you so you can drive home to retrieve your own vehicle and tend to your emergency. These incidents are rare, so we don't charge for this service.


Issue: Some days I need to drive to campus because I need to arrive early or stay later than normal.

Response: Transportation Services doesn't provide a complimentary vehicle for these situations. However, your rider fee includes 10 scratch-off, one-day parking passes per year to use on days when you need to bring your vehicle to campus.


Issue: I'm not comfortable with a year-long commitment. What if I move or something changes with my work?

Response: We recognize that situations change. Transportation services requires a 30-day notice if you must leave your vanpool. The payroll deductions are taken out a month in advance, hence the 30-day requirement.

Questions about employee vanpools may be directed to Andrea Weber, transportation services, 294-0181.