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23 vanpools in operation. In addition, there were 148 VanShares, In addition, employers are absolved from liability during vanpools that require a multimodal connection and have short their employees' commute time. trip lengths of no more than 10 miles one way. In 2003, the state legislature created a vanpool grant Washington's leadership in vanpooling dates back more than rogram to expand vanpooling in Washington. Roughly p 30 years. In 1979, the Washington State Legislature enacted the $30 million has been allocated to the program. Previously, Ridesharing Act, which, among other things, allowed the use these funds could only be used for "capital costs associated of government vehicles for commuter ridesharing and defined with putting new vans on the road and employer incentives to vanpooling as a fixed group of up to 15 people commuting increase employee vanpool use" (WSDOT 2011). However from home to work or school (Pawlowski and Maillet 1999). in the 20092011 biennium, transit agencies, for the first time, Subsequent legislation exempted vanpool vehicles from sales, were able to use grant funds to purchase replacement vans as use, and motor vehicles taxes (Washington State Ridesharing well. Transit agencies must provide a 20% cash match for Organization 2002). the cost of vans, and the state reimburses the remaining 80%. Allocations are based on a maximum cost of $26,000 per Also in 1979, the city of Seattle created the first publicly van. According to a WSDOT representative, this leveraging operated vanpool service in the state (one of the first in the coun- of local and state resources and the "community of vanpool try). Ten years later, the program was transferred to Metro Tran- operators who support each other" contributes to a partner- sit and in 1994 it was incorporated in the MetroKing County ship that makes vanpooling the success it is in Washington. merger. King County Metro began its VanShare program in 2001 to help employees travel from public transportation sta- tions, Washington State ferries and park-n-ride lots to their Performance Measures of Ridesharing Success work site. (See profile of King County Metro in chapter three.) The most common metric used by non-transit agencies to deter- WSDOT got involved in vanpooling in the early 1980s mine the value of their ridesharing programs is the number of by using money from a lawsuit settlement to stimulate the people subscribed to the service (69% of respondents). The development of vanpool programs across the state (Conrick full range of performance metrics is outlined in the Table 14. 2008). The Commute Trip Reduction Law, adopted in 1991, further spurred the expansion of vanpooling. It required major employers in counties with more than 150,000 people Challenges to establish transportation demand management measures to reduce employee commuter trips (Washington State Ride- Non-transit agencies reported that they face a variety of chal- sharing Organization 2002; WSDOT 2011). For example, lenges that inhibit the integration of ridesharing and transit. employees were instructed to offer options for decreasing For example, five respondents said some consider rideshar- single-occupant commuting, which could include provid- ing to be competitive with transit, whereas four noted that not ing priority parking for vanpoolers and carpoolers (CTAA all agencies consider ridesharing to be important to their mis- 2009). Tax credits have also been made available to major sion. Three non-transit agency respondents said customers employers who participate in trip reduction programs and do not easily accept ridesharing as a substitute for full transit provide financial ridesharing incentives to their employees. service (Table 15). Table 14 How Do You Determine If the Amount Spent on Ridesharing is Worthwhile? Responses Count Percent Through the number of people subscribed to/signed up for the 9 69 ridesharing program Through customer satisfaction surveys or other customer feedback 6 46 Through the number of successfully matched rides 6 46 Through environmental measurements, such as decreased carbon 6 46 emissions Through achievement of our goal to increase mobility in our 5 38 service area By closing a service gap 3 23 By avoiding the need to add another bus or train 2 15 Through adherence to regulations 1 8 Through cost savings to the agency 1 8 Other 2 15 Total responses 13 100 Answers exceed 100% because respondents could choose multiple answers.
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24 Table 15 What Challenges Have You Faced Integrating Ridesharing as a Complement to Transit? Responses Count Percent Some consider ridesharing as competition for transit riders and 5 42 resources Not everyone considers ridesharing important to our mission 4 33 Customers do not easily accept ridesharing as a substitute for full 3 25 transit service Another agency provides ridesharing and/or transit services 1 8 Staff competency does not include ridesharing 0 0 Staff competency does not include transit expertise 0 0 Other 3 25 Total responses 12 100 Answers exceed 100% because respondents could choose multiple answers.