Vanpool: Commute with Friends
Vanpools are the perfect commute option for commuters who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share the ride in a van which seats five to 15 people and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.
Not only will you help reduce the amount of vehicles on the road, when you cruise with two or more people in a vehicle, you can ride in the US 36 Express Lanes for free! When emergencies and unexpected schedule changes arise, vanpool participants can take advantage of the Guaranteed Ride Home program, a service that comes included in the monthly fee.
How to Get Started with Vanpool
For commuters who travel in and around the Denver metro region, resources like MyWaytoGo.org can help you find registered users who are either part of an existing pool or are looking for a buddy such as yourself. The My Way to Go vanpools operate through Commute With Enterprise.
If you live in the North Front Range region (Berthoud, Fort Collins, Greeley, Johnstown, Loveland), VanGo is your service provider for all your vanpool needs.
What Rules You Should Have for Vanpools
Once you have your van buddies lined up, it is important to lay out the rules of your vanpool. 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.
Commuter Tax Benefit
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!
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 $260/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 $35 monthly incentive for employees who vanpool, and Boulder County offers a $70 monthly incentive for Boulder County employees who chose to vanpool as well as offering priority parking.
Incentives for North Front Range Commuters
North Front Range vanpoolers who use VanGo get up to $260 for commuting costs taken out of your paycheck before figuring in taxes. This lowers your taxable income, which puts more money back into your paycheck. Commuters who use a MyWaytoGo vanpool are eligible to receive a one-time $20 per rider subsidy, which is deducted from their fare.
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