Vanpools are a great option for commuters who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share the ride in a van seating 5-15 people and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance. Not only that, when you cruise with two or more in a vehicle, you can ride in the US 36 Express Lanes for free! When emergencies and unexpected schedule changes arise, vanpool participants receive a Guaranteed Ride Home.
How to Get Started
For those living and working in the Denver metro area, resources like MyWaytoGo.org and Enterprise Rideshare can help you find registered users who are either part of an existing pool or are looking for a buddy such as yourself.
If you live in the North Front Range region (Berthoud, Fort Collins, Greeley, Johnstown, Loveland), VanGo will be your service provider.
Rules of the Pool
Once you have your buddies lined up, it’s important to lay out the rules of vanpooling. For example, you’ll want to know:
- How will driving duties be split?
- Who will be responsible for taking the van in for maintenance?
- How long will you wait on late arrivals?
- What happens if someone has to stay late at work?
Establishing the rules of your vanpool upfront helps ensure that you and your new buddies will have a smooth ride together.
The IRS allows employers to withhold a set amount of an employee’s pre-tax income for vanpool commuting costs. This lowers an employee’s taxable income, putting more money in their pocket. Employers may also provide a monthly fare subsidy as a part of the qualified IRS Transportation Fringe Benefit, under section 132(F) of the IRS tax code, lowering their FICA contribution. It’s a winning situation for employees, employers and traffic congestion! To learn more, review the Commuting Solutions Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit FAQ sheet.
Vanpool tax benefits do require employer involvement, so your employer needs to be the one to set up the program. Employer-paid programs involve the employers giving their employees up to $255/month to commute using transit or a vanpool. In return, the employer gets a tax deduction.
Incentives for Boulder Residents and Employees
The vanpool savings (and incentives) add up, especially for Boulder residents or employees who can combine incentives from multiple organizations. The University of Colorado Boulder offers a $15 monthly incentive for employees who vanpool; the City of Boulder and GO Boulder offer a $20 monthly incentive for Boulder residents or employees who vanpool; and Boulder County pays the whole fare, less $10 per month for Boulder County employees who choose to vanpool.
Incentives for North Front Range Commuters
North Front Range vanpoolers who use VanGo receive a $20 monthly subsidy for as long as they participate in the vanpool. Those in the North Front Range who use a MyWaytoGo vanpool are eligible to receive a one-time $20 per rider subsidy, which is deducted from their fare.
For more information on monthly fees, setting up a vanpool, or to get connected with an existing vanpool, please contact us.