Carpooling is when two or more commuters ride together in a private automobile on a continuing basis, regardless of their relationship to each other or the cost of sharing agreements. Carpooling is the simplest and most common "ridesharing" arrangement.
Finding someone to carpool is easy because employees of a single company often live near each other. Neighbors may work at different companies located only a short distance apart and have the same work hours.
Carpools can be arranged in one of the following ways:
• One person may drive all the time, while the passengers contribute only to the cost (e.g., gas and parking).
You get the picture. Collectively, the carpool participants make up the rules and schedule.
Vanpooling is an important and economical option for individuals commuting long distances. This option is popular in the Metropolitan Washington DC area because of long commuting distances to work sites. A company can give vanpoolers up to $125 in tax-free transportation benefits each month.
There are three kinds of vanpool arrangements:
• Third-party vans — A vanpool "vendor" leases the vanpool vehicle for a monthly fee that includes the vehicle operating cost, insurance, and maintenance. The vendor can contract directly with one or more employees. The monthly lease fee is paid by the group of riders.
• Employer-provided vans — The employer (or a group of employers) buys or leases vans for employees’ commute use. The employer organizes the vanpool riders and insures and maintains the vehicles. The employer may charge a fee to ride in the van or subsidize the service. Check with your company’s Human Resources department.