To find out more information on each of these promotions, click the links below:
What is a Vanpool? It's Your Commute. Only Better.
Vanpool is just like carpooling, but with a few more people. Using a Spokane Transit 7, 12 or 15-passenger van, a group of people who live and work in approximately the same area are able to commute together to save money. STA vans are assigned to commuter groups and driven by volunteers who share the commute. The volunteer drivers are trained by Spokane Transit on defensive driving and safety. All services and costs are wrapped up into one monthly fee, divided among the vanpool members.
Did you know Spokane Transit Vanpools cater to longer distance commutes; 20, 40 mile, even 100 plus miles daily? Vanpool serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho, as long as the van starts or ends in Spokane Transit boundaries.
Now you’ve made your commute on a Vanpool and you need to run an errand. No worries; upon request, Spokane Transit provides each vanpool participant a bus pass.
Benefits of vanpool
- You travel direct to and from work.
- You sit in a comfortable seat and forget about other drivers and traffic.
- You are free to read, work, text, even sleep.
- You may obtain a smart card bus pass for use on any bus route. Registration for a smart card is available here.
- Your employer may pay all or part of the cost.
- There is no long-term commitment.
Call Spokane Transit Vanpool @ 509-326-POOL or complete the form below:
How to Become a Vanpool Rider
Welcome to Vanpool!
We are excited to hear you are interested in riding with Vanpool. A Vanpool is a group of 5 or more people that commute to work together in our vehicle. It’s a great way to relax and save big!
Joining is Simple:
Find a Vanpool Group to Join
The best way to find a group is to use www.CommuteFinderNW.com to enter your commute information. Under Vanpool matches, you will see several options if we have current Vanpools that fit your route and shift times.
If a Vanpool match is not currently available for your commute, you can start your own Vanpool! You’ll need 5 people total to start, try using the carpool matches as a way to generate some leads and gauge interest.
Contact the Driver
Contact the group through www.CommuteFinderNW.com to confirm they have space on their van and are able to accommodate an extra passenger. Inform them of where you work and if you’ll require an extra stop to be made.
The driver will let you know where the van meets and what time you’ll need to arrive by to meet the van.
Submit a Rider Agreement to STA
Download the Rider Agreement Form
Easily fill it out on your computer (electronic signatures are accepted) and email the completed form to STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com
Alternatively, print the form, scan the completed form, and send it by email to STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com
Get Free Rides and Incentives
Check out our current promotions
Recruiters receive a $25 gift card for each person they refer (with no limit!). Direct them to this page and make sure they list you on their application.
If you have questions or need assistance in this process, please call us at (509) 326-POOL or by email at STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com.
How to Become a Vanpool Driver
We hear you want to drive a Vanpool, how Vantastic!
Vanpool drivers are volunteers from the Vanpool group. We wouldn’t be able to operate without you! Each group requires a minimum of two drivers, one primary, and at least one backup. Ideally, multiple drivers can share the duty so the group can have a great, stress-free commute.
Becoming a driver is fairly simple. You will submit a driver’s application, a copy of your driver’s license, and your driving record. We will then review your application, if your record is clean and you meet our driver guidelines, we will assign you an online defensive driving course that takes about an hour and a half to complete. Finally, you’ll agree to our policies and procedures, then be approved to drive off in your cool Vanpool van!
To get started, follow these steps:
1. Download and digitally complete the following forms:
2. Request a copy of your driving record:
For Washington residents, you’ll need to request a copy through the Department of Licensing. For instructions, please download this PDF.
If you have an Idaho license, we can obtain your driving record for you, please contact STA and move to the next step.
3. Scan or snap a photo of your driver’s license
4. Once you’ve completed these steps, send the documents to STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com and let us know you’d like to be a driver. We will work through the rest of the process with you by email.
How Much Does it Cost to Join a Vanpool?
The distance traveled determines the monthly fare for each van group. The number of riders on each van will determine each rider’s portion of the total fare. Fares cover all costs, including gas, maintenance, 24 hr road side assistance, insurance, and training. To view the current fares click here. Many employers offer vanpool fare subsidy, it doesn't hurt to ask!
Vanpool fares are due on the first of the month or a pro-rated fare is due when starting in the middle of the month. The bookkeeper informs all riders what the fare will be for the upcoming month. Options for payments are on-line credit/debit or by check payable to Spokane Transit and submitted to your vanpool bookkeeper. Upon request, active vanpool participants are entitled to a complimentary smart card bus pass for use on any STA bus, anytime!
How to Start a Vanpool
Forming or joining a Vanpool can be accomplished in three easy steps:
- You need four other people, in addition to yourself -- or as many as 14 -- to organize a vanpool. The more people, the lower your fare.
- Choose a primary driver and at least one back-up. You'll also need a bookkeeper to collect fares as well as a contact person for the group. Any rider, including drivers, can be the group bookkeeper or the group contact.
- Decide on a proposed route, pick-up points and schedule.
How to Start a Vanpool
To form a new vanpool group, download the Vanpool Startup Kit. This informational pamphlet will explain many details of the Vanpool program and the roles each member can perform.
The Vanpool Startup Kit also has a useful worksheet to help plan your new vanpool group. You may also fill out the form below to send STA your new vanpool group request.
Bookkeeper Forms, Rider/Driver Agreements and Resources
Below is a list of available documents and links for vanpool riders, drivers and bookkeepers.
- Vanpool Program Manual [PDF]
- Bookkeeper Manual [PDF]
- Quick Guide to on-line reporting [PDF]
- Bookkeeper Login (This will take you away from Spokane Transit Website)
- Payment Form [Excel]
- Expense Reimbursement Form [PDF]
- Ridership Log for Van [PDF]
- Rider Transfer/Withdrawal [PDF]
- Event Report [PDF]
- Want to be a driver? - See below
- How to request your Washington State driving record [PDF]
Idaho drivers should contact STA Vanpool
- Driver Guidelines [PDF]
- Driver Application [PDF]
If more pre-paid envelopes are needed, please email STAVanpool@spokanetransit.com and include the mailing address you wish to have us mail the envelopes to.
A safe driver is the single most important ingredient to any Vanpool program, and Spokane Transit strives to maintain the highest quality of volunteer drivers possible. Each successful Spokane Transit Vanpool must have a volunteer driver and at least one volunteer back-up driver. To read more about being a driver, click here.
Steps to Becoming a Driver
Please call Spokane Transit Vanpool office (509) 326-POOL(7665) during office hours to let us know you would like to become a volunteer driver.
Washington State drivers will need to obtain their driving record from the Washington State DOL. Visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/
Download and submit a completed driver application [PDF].
Submit driving record, (Idaho driver records are obtained by STA) downloaded documents, and a photocopy of your driver's license to:
fax to (509) 232-6784, or
mail the form to: Spokane Transit 1230 W. Boone Ave., Spokane, WA 99201.
Contact (509) 326-7665 to arrange your driver's orientation.
Q. How much do riders pay?
A. Vanpool fares are based on the number of Vanpool riders and the daily round-trip mileage. Vanpool fares are paid in advance on a monthly basis and are due to Spokane Transit on the first of the month. Vanpool fares are paid on-line or by check to the van group bookkeeper for submission to STA.
Q. Do vanpools pick up riders at their front door?
A. The route and schedule for each vanpool are decided by the group. Some vans go door-to-door, but most vanpools establish one or two convenient pick-up points.
Q. What happens to the vanpool group when the driver is sick, on vacation or has to work late?
A. Each vanpool group should have at least two approved back-up drivers who can take over in the event that the primary driver is unavailable.
Q. What happens when a rider is sick or on vacation?
A. Payment of the monthly fare reserves your seat whether you ride or not. Riders do not receive a refund for missed days. If a rider is planning a vacation, the rider can sublet the seat to a temporary rider from the vanpool waiting list. Part time riders can also ride in a vacant seat and pay a daily fare.
Q. What about insurance coverage?
A. Spokane Transit purchases its insurance coverage through the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP).
Q. If I work a compressed schedule, can I still join a vanpool?
A. Yes. Many of our vanpool groups operate on a 4/10 or 9/80 compressed work-week schedule.
Q. Who is responsible for routine maintenance of the van?
A. Maintenance is a joint effort between the vanpool group and Spokane Transit. The primary driver completes daily, weekly and monthly inspections and all riders should report anything unusual. Spokane Transit's Maintenance Department performs the van’s routine preventive service every 4,000 miles and handles emergencies as they arise.
Q. Where can a vanpool travel?
A. Vanpool is specifically designed to accommodate commuters who are coming from or going to a destination outside of the Spokane Transit bus routes. This is not to say that vanpool cannot operate if buses are available. Sometimes a vanpool group needs to commute at times or in a route that is incompatible with the current bus schedule. Vanpool groups must either start in the Spokane Transit bus boundaries, or terminate in it.
Q. I am a member of a vanpool and I have an emergency, what do I do?
A. Vanpool participants who use vanpool as their primary commute option are eligible to receive a free Smart Card Bus Pass that can be used on all STA buses. Vanpoolers may use this card for emergency trips from work, run errands during the workday, get to a vanpool pickup point, or complete a commute when the vanpool drops them off. Many employers offer a guaranteed rider home for vanpoolers.
Contact Spokane Transit Vanpool
1212 W. Sharp Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
MAILING ADDRESS: (for payments or form submitting)
1230 W Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201-9901
(509) 326-POOL (7665)
New Rider Incentives
TRY VANPOOL offers up to 5 free vanpool rides for new, qualifying trial users.
TRY VANPOOL offers up to 5 free vanpool rides for new, qualifying trial users. We invite you to try vanpooling and find out why so many decide it’s a great way to go.
How the program works:
- To find a van, contact STA at 326-POOL to start your 5 free rides. Or search on your own at www.CommuteFinderNW.com.
- Complete the 5 rides within a 30-day period.
- Ready to join? Complete the Vanpool Participant Agreement.
Note: 5 Free Ride offer is for a new vanpool rider who has not ridden Spokane Transit (STA) vanpool in the previous 12 months. If you complete the 5 free rides and decide to join the vanpool, your monthly fare will be prorated by the vanpool group bookkeeper.
- New rider must complete recruiter information on the Vanpool Participant Agreement.
- Recruiters may choose either a $25 gift card or $25 off their next month's fare.
What is Commute Trip Reduction?
In 1993, Spokane County implemented the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law (RCW 70.94.521-5 5 1) to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and petroleum consumption through employer-based programs that encourage the use of alternatives to driving alone.
The Spokane County CTR program, Commute Smart NW, works with employers throughout Spokane County to reduce trips by encouraging employees to use commute alternatives to work. If you do not work for a company that has a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program, you can still be part of the movement to help reduce air pollution, traffic congestion and fuel consumption… all benefiting our environment and community.
CommuteSmartNW.org has a lot of great information about the benefits of using commute alternatives including carpooling, bicycling, walking, riding the bus, vanpooling, working from home and compressing your work schedule. If you register at www.CommuteSmartNW.org and fill out your commute calendar, you will be eligible for prizes each month! The calendar will also give you stats on how you are making a difference including miles not driven, air pollution not emitted and cost savings.
Thank you in advance for making the choice to travel green by using a commute alternative and for helping the Commute Smart NW Office track how many trips are saved every day. Your efforts make a difference!