Payroll deductions and subsidies available to employees. Newer model vehicles and luxury upgrades with insurance coverage, maintenance and roadside assistance with a month-to-month lease.
Enjoy your time and make it an EZ Ride
Vanpooling offers commuter comfort and hefty savings. At less than $6 a day for a round-trip commute, vanpools are the most cost-effective way to get to work.
A vanpool can be formed by a group of commuters to share a journey to work on a regular basis. Riders share expenses. The individual who serves as the driver/coordinator generally pays less.
With a median one-way trip of 40 miles, EZ Ride vanpools connect the metropolitan region with New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. And access to HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes can shave up to 40 minutes a day off your commute.
In addition to financial incentives and tax breaks, you gain time during the day for reading, emailing or listening to your iPod. You arrive to work feeling less stress than you would if you had driven. And you will also feel good about your role in helping to reduce traffic congestion the greenhouse gases.
So Why Vanpool
Employers can provide a pre-tax benefit toward the cost of vanpooling, reducing taxable income for employees and lowering FICA payroll taxes for the company.
Every vanpool eliminates the need for four to 14 parking spaces, which can have immense impact on congestion and infrastructure costs.
How it works
Join an Existing Vanpool
Vanpools turn your journey to work into a reliable, enjoyable and time-saving EZ Ride each day.
Since vanpools typically share a common destination or workplace, riders first check to see if there is an existing vanpool with an empty seat available that goes to the desired destination.
Vanpooling is most cost-effective for one-way trips of 40 miles or more. If that’s got your name on it, then turn your journey into an EZ Ride.
Start a New Vanpool
If you decide to start your own vanpool, EZ Ride can help. Since there are two van sizes to pick from, you will need either 7 or 15 riders. You may recruit these riders at your company or you may consult EZ Ride’s list of riders who are interested in joining a vanpool.
One of the financial benefits of vanpooling comes from financial subsidies that come from NJ Transit. To qualify for these subsidies, you must lease your van from a NJ Transit approved vanpool provider.
Once you have your riders, you’ll need to discuss your cost-sharing arrangements, routes and pickup schedules. Make sure to maintain updated contact information for everyone in your group in case of bad weather or any unforeseen situation. Always have a designated backup driver to allow for vacation time, illness or business travel.
What Does it Cost?
Vanpool Riders Share Expenses
Vanpooling is popular for its convenience, its contribution to a cleaner environment and its reasonable cost. Vanpooling is the most cost-effective way to get to work – about $6 a day – given a daily roundtrip commute of at least 40 miles and a 21-workday month.
Fares are based on the number of average monthly miles and the costs of operation, maintenance, insurance and vehicle depreciation. Monthly costs per rider, based on 14 passengers, are generally between $90 and $170 a month.
Leases are issued on a 30-day, renewable program. A typical lease ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 per month, depending on the van and your monthly mileage. The lease includes maintenance, insurance and 24-hour Roadside Assistance.
Check with your employer to see if they currently offer subsidies for vanpooling. Employers can offer their employees up to $125 in tax-exempt dollars per month towards vanpool or transit expenses, saving employers on payroll taxes and providing a write-off at the end of the year.
The federal Commuter Tax Benefit (formally known as the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit or Section 132(f) benefit) currently allows employees to use up to $125 a month, or $1,500 a year, of their pre-tax salary to pay for their commuting expenses. Using pre-tax money to pay for vanpooling lowers your total tax burden, and allows your employer to save money on payroll taxes.
NJ Transit's Vanpool Sponsorship Program
To reduce traffic congestion, NJ Transit encourages vanpooling by providing:
- $175 a month to every vanpool on an ongoing basis.
- An additional $150 a month if the vanpool uses the HOV lane on the New Jersey Turnpike between Exits 11 and 14 during 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
To qualify for subsidies, you must:
- Operate a 7- to 15-seat van with a minimum occupancy of 50%. That means a 7-seat van must have at least 4 riders; a 15-seat van must have at least 8 riders.
- Lease your van from a NJ Transit approved provider.
EZ Ride Incentives for Vanpooling
Empty Seat Subsidy
To encourage formation of new vanpools, EZ Ride provides $60 a month for an empty seat for the first 3 months, providing a financial cushion while passengers are recruited.
Emergency Ride Home Program
Once you’re registered, all vanpoolers are automatically registered in the Emergency Ride Home program, which gives peace of mind knowing that they’ll get home freely in the event of an emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is a Vanpool?
A. A vanpool is typically a group of 7 to 15 people who share their commute. The vanpool travels from home (or a prearranged meeting place) to work and back. Leased by a third party. To realize the full financial benefit, a vanpool generally should travel at least 40 miles round trip each day.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. A lot less than what you would pay to drive alone! Each passenger pays a monthly fare to ride in the van. Fares are based on the number of average monthly miles and the costs of operation, maintenance, insurance and depreciation. Monthly costs per rider, based on 14 passengers, are generally between $90 and $170 per month.
Some employers offer subsidies to employees who rideshare! Employers can receive a tax deduction for the first $110 they contribute each month to your vanpool fare. Check with your employer to see if they will help pay your vanpool costs. Further, employees can withhold up to a $115 pre-tax benefit from monthly pay toward the cost of vanpooling.
Q. Who owns the vans?
A. The vans are leased by the driver from a third-party vanpool provider. EZ Ride provides support and subsidy for the commuters.
Q. What are the vans like?
A. EZ Ride vans have a 7- to 15-passenger capacity, air-conditioning/heating, AM/FM radio/CD, and depending on the model may have plug-ins for laptops and reading lights. Vans are usually replaced in 3 to 4 years or 100,000 miles depending on the route distance.
Q. Who takes care of maintenance?
A. The third-party vanpool provider provides free preventive maintenance and repair work as well as a loaner van when yours is in the shop. The driver arranges for scheduled maintenance.
Q. Who drives?
A. The driver/coordinator is a commuter like you who has committed to taking the other people to and from work each day. The driver may drive every day or share the driving with a back-up driver. Drivers must be at least 25 years old with a current driver’s license, and have a clean driving record.
Q. What are the driver/coordinator’s responsibilities and benefits?
A. Driver/ coordinator and his/her back-up driver sign a lease agreement. The driver must prepare and submit simple monthly reports on rider ship and miles driven as well as provide contact information to connect to new riders.
Because of the responsibilities they shoulder, the driver/coordinator commonly rides for free in vanpools and are allotted a certain mileage per month for personal use of the van.
Q. How are fares collected?
A. Riders pay their monthly fee to the vanpool coordinator, who in turn sends a check to the lease company. The coordinator sets policy about whether they require cash or checks for payment.
Q. What about insurance?
A. The third-party vanpool provider pays for the van’s insurance, including collision and liability, and it is included in the lease cost.
Q. What is my commitment to the van?
A. In most cases, the driver and riders make a month-to-month commitment. The lease is paid in advance each month so you can’t get stuck with a bill. You may leave the vanpool at any time after giving a month’s notice.
Q. Does the van provide door-to-door service?
A. Vanpool riders and drivers may set their own policy about pick-up and drop-off locations but because the monthly lease cost is calculated on miles traveled, we encourage you to choose a central meeting place. Often, Park & Rides and shopping centers will allow their parking lots to be used by vanpool riders.
Q. What happens if I am sick or go on vacation?
A. Vanpools are allowed to determine their own rules on sick- or vacation-time. Most often, however, riders are responsible for their fares whether or not they choose to ride the van every day.
Q. What if the driver is sick or on vacation?
A. Each van has one or more back-up drivers in case the primary driver/coordinator cannot drive the van for whatever reason. It is encouraged for every van to have a 3rd of the riders as backup drivers.
Q. What if I have an emergency during the day and need to go home?
A. EZ Ride offers up to 3 free rides to home per year, in the event of a sickness or un-scheduled overtime. Requests must be received no later than 5 p.m.
Q. How do we get more passengers on our van?
A. EZ Ride will help you recruit passengers and you are encouraged to look for potential riders at your workplace.