Intercity Transit reviews new fare structure for part-time Vanpool users


On Wednesday, Intercity Transit’s board reviewed a proposal for a new Vanpool fare structure for users who need rides 10 days or fewer each month.

Intercity Vanpool Manager Cindy Fisher Waterhouse shared the proposal during the Intercity Transit Authority Board meeting on Wed., June 21. The rates were a part of the Five-Year Vanpool Fare Demonstration Project which provides a more simplified solution for its fares while at the same time supporting economic recovery, especially as employees are starting to go back to work.

According to the Thurston Regional Planning Council, a vanpool is “a group of 5-15 people who commute together in a passenger van owned and maintained by a transit agency like Intercity Transit. Members of the vanpool volunteer to drive, keep the books, and coordinate vanpool activities.”

For riders needing up to 10 days per month

The demonstration project is available for those working on hybrid schedules or those who want to try vanpooling. The structure has eight zones with five-mile increments, and a commuter may pay $10 per day. A commuter may avail themselves of these services for up to 10 days a month.

If a commuter travels more than 10 days, the staff recommends join a vanpool group and pay the monthly fare option, which would be determined based daily round trip mileage. The pricing is based on $25 for every 25-mile increment.

The staff wanted to introduce a simple fare rate to encourage more people to try vanpooling since many commuters have told the transit agency that they find the current fare structure to be complex and confusing.

Plan  targets workers at all pay ranges

By offering affordable and consistent fares, the plan seeks to include industrial, lower-income workers. Waterhouse explained that the structure is people-centered, and the fare rate is not based on ridership, but per individual. This allows commuters to observe social distancing without having the need to change the cost. The staff also wanted to encourage employer subsidies as a way to start different vanpool groups.

The vanpool manager claimed that they are uncertain how many state workers would avail themselves of vanpool services. However, Waterhouse noted that there is an opportunity to attract commuters from different industries.

“It sounds like you have a smooth plan here,” Carolyn Cox, Chair for Intercity Transit and Lacey City Councilmember said.

The Intercity Board also approved the schedule for a public hearing on the proposed Five-Year Vanpool Fare Demonstration Project to be Wednesday, August 18 at 5:30 p.m. Once approved, Waterhouse shared that the demonstration may begin by next year.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here