CTR Commuter Diversity: Carpooling
As transportation researchers, we are all too familiar with the causes of congestion. And as the saying goes, “you are not stuck in traffic—you are traffic.” So we try to do our part to reduce our impacts on the Austin network in a variety of ways, participating in such congestion-mitigation practices as carpooling, bicycling, and using public transit. This article is a continuation in a series on the commuting alternatives we use right here at CTR.
Members of the UT community who regularly drive to work could be leaving money on the table if they don’t carpool. If two or more UT faculty/staff members or students regularly ride to campus in the same vehicle, they can take advantage of special benefits offered by the Parking and Transportation Services (PTS), in addition to getting some quality time in with friends or family. Carpools registered with PTS receive the following benefits:
- The permit cost is reduced by $50 for each registered carpool rider (excluding the driver) up to the cost of the permit.
- Each carpool member receives a UT Share Pass (garage debit card) with up to 18 free garage entries.
- The carpool has access to both spaces indicated by the permit type and reserved carpool spaces (see below for map of reserved spots).
- All carpoolers are automatically enrolled in the Guaranteed Ride Home Program that provides mass transit or taxi in the event of an emergency.
Says CTR Grants & Contracts Specialist Ashley Williams,
“My husband and I both work at UT and have been carpooling for 6 years. We like the $50 discount—every little bit helps! The Share Pass is also a big plus; it allows us a little flexibility on the occasions we may need to park elsewhere on campus.”
For the particularly gregarious, vanpools are an option as well, through a CapMetro program. A vanpool consists of five or more UT faculty, staff, or students sharing the ride to campus in a van provided by vRide. Vanpool fares vary, based on vehicle type, commute distance, group size, fuel, and tolls. The monthly cost is shared by the number of riders. In addition to enjoying preferred parking spaces on campus, vanpoolers have these program benefits as well:
- Drivers reduce wear and tear on their personal vehicles, and save on gas, parking fees, and insurance
- Riders get free time while commuting to read, sleep, text, or check emails
- For an annual membership fee of $5, vanpoolers can get reimbursed for up to four emergency taxi rides per calendar year for unexpected emergencies that require a vanpooler to leave work.