HARRISBURG – In support of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Employment First initiative to help people with disabilities find employment, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has executed agreements with Enterprise Rideshare and the Centre Area Transit Authority (CATA) as part of a Vanpool Incentive Program announced last year to create vanpools across the state that would provide a lower-cost alternative for people to commute to work.
“We’re always looking at innovative ways to enhance our workforce and support Pennsylvanians in pursuing employment,” Wolf said.
“This program is one way that we’re trying to remove a transportation barrier for those who want to work, and enhance connectivity in communities.”
Enterprise’s $301,800 grant is helping to create up to 100 vanpools varying in size from seven passengers to 15-passenger vans.
Enterprise has started 30 new vanpools so far and is working to start others. More information on Enterprise’s Rideshare program is available at www.enterpriserideshare.com.
CATA’s $40,800 grant is for seven vanpools with vehicles ranging from 10-passenger to 15-passenger vans. The vanpools have started and have a destination in or near State College. Information on the authority’s program is at www.catabus.com under “CATACOMMUTE.”
“This program shows our focus on supporting not only quality businesses that create jobs, but also the people who need to travel to those jobs,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said.
“This is an innovative way to expand and provide more transportation options.”
Through the program, PennDOT will continue to invest up to $1 million annually and the opportunity is open to government entities, non-profit entities and transportation companies.
Approved vanpools will be offered up to $800 per vanpool per month based on van size, that is phased out over three years for non-ADA accessible vanpools.
ADA-accessible vanpools are eligible for a monthly subsidy up to $1,200 per van, and are eligible for an ongoing $400-per-month subsidy after the third year. Participants are eligible for state investments to cover the cost to convert a van to be ADA-accessible.
To qualify for the program, entities must create a new vanpool that has not operated previously to or from the identified destination or origin point.
The vanpool must also have at least an expected 60-percent occupancy: five riders for seven-person vans; six riders for 10-person vans; eight riders for 12-person vans (including ADA); and nine riders for 15-person vans.
To ensure proof of membership, vanpool riders will pay a minimum of $25 per month, with the final cost determined by providers.
Agencies or providers interested in the program may e-mail email@example.com for more information. Information on public transportation, carpooling and vanpooling is at www.penndot.gov under “Travel In PA.”