500 Vanpools, 12 Buses an Hour

Phew! It’s been a marathon blogging session today, but there’s one more story I need to bring to your attention. Lyle Solla-Yates has done a great job digging into proposed HOT lane project for Interstates 95 and 295. In “HOT Commodity,” he has uncovered more details on how it would work than I’ve seen anywhere else.

The Fluor-Transurban plan would apply millions of dollars of toll revenues to upgrading mass transit service in the I-95/395 corridor. As part of its analysis, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) has been studying the mass transit and shared ridership services along the corridor that already exist. Lyle reports these numbers:

At present, there are 500 independent vanpools in the area. More than 90 buses per hour go through the portion of the corridor currently served by HOV lanes. Some of these are private, some public transit like the Fairfax Connector. In the southern portion, where the two new lanes are planned, there are 12 buses per hour, which are mostly private buses like Quicks and Martz.

There are 19 slug locations in private lots throughout the area. These lots are self-organized and self-run — sometimes by major employers such as the Pentagon. That is a significant amount of privately provided transportation capacity. I’m especially intrigued by those 500 independent vanpools. Who runs those vans? Who rides in them? Has anyone talked to these people to find out what the public sector can do to encourage more of them? The same questions could be asked of the private bus operators.

Clearly, the private sector can be part of the traffic-congestion solution. DRPT should be applauded for unveiling the existence of these small-scale players. Now let’s see if state transportation planners can craft a policy that harnesses the entrepreneurial potential of the marketplace instead of creating some lethargic, play-it-by-the-book, quasi-public agency to provide the mass transit service.

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3 responses to “500 Vanpools, 12 Buses an Hour”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Now you are talking.

    This thing is going to be solved lots of different ways, and meet lots of different needs, using neurons and ideas from lots of different brains.

    How do Van Pools coordinate with day care? Etc. Etc. Etc.


  2. Many of my neighbors in Fredericksburg use the Van pools. They meet at a commuter lot, usually well before 6 AM, and head into DC. The driver usually goes for free, the rest of them are paying in the $200-250 a month neighborhood, 12-14 people per van I think. They are almost all federal employees or contractors working at federal sites. The van riders typically all work in the same building, or within a few blocks of where the van parks.

    There are probably 50 vans operating out of the commuter lot near my house, and there seems to be several private companies that own them.

  3. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    VPSI is one source of information.

    Virginia Vanpool Assistance Program is another.

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