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Introducing Flat Rate Fares & Part-Time Rider Service

As part of our ongoing effort to improve our commuter experience, we are excited to introduce a new flat rate fare model and part-time rider service for our vanpool program starting in May 2022.

NEW FARE MODEL

The new fares are based exclusively on the daily round trip commute miles of the vehicle. This means Pierce Transit vanpool commuters will now have a simple, predictable, and consistent fare each month, regardless of how many people are in a vanpool group or how many days per week they commute.

Starting with May 2022 fares, vanpool commuters will automatically transition to one of six flat rate fare options listed here:

Daily Round Trip Miles (Vehicle) Monthly Vanpool Fare Per Rider
< 50 $100
51-75 $125
76-100 $150
101-125 $175
126-150 $200
150 + $225

 

Why is Pierce Transit changing vanpool fares?

As you may have noticed, our current vanpool fares are complicated and require a lot of ongoing adjustments each month. They are calculated using three variables: daily round trip miles, group size, and number of commute days. This translates to 420 different fares with over 2,000 possible fare combinations.

To eliminate ongoing adjustments and provide commuters with a predictable and consistent vanpool fare each month, we decided to simplify our fares and move away from a system that is more complicated than it needs to be.

Why do this now?

There are enough things to worry about these days. A fluctuating vanpool fare shouldn’t be one of them. Our goal is to make our commuter experience the best in the business. A simplified flat rate fare is another step in that direction.

The last time we made changes to our vanpool fares was back in 2013. A lot has changed since then. We believe now is the right time to make the transition to a system that provides commuters with increased stability and consistency.

How will vanpool commuters be impacted? 

While we have made every effort to minimize impacts on current commuter fares, some commuters may notice a minimal increase or decrease on their May fare statement. On average, the increase or decrease to monthly fares will be around $15. Our projections indicate that less than half of our commuters will experience a fare increase and half will experience a fare decrease as we transition to a more stable fare model.

A predictable monthly fare is especially important to our commuters who take advantage of commute subsidies offered by their employer as they often must identify what their vanpool fare is going to be months in advance when submitting subsidy elections.

Does this change the current vanpool service?

There are no service changes resulting from the transition to the new flat rate fares. The new fares will continue to cover all commuter expenses for participation in the vanpool program, including fuel, maintenance, cleaning, and insurance. Primary drivers will continue to have their fare fully subsidized in groups with six or more full-time participants.

Do vanpool commuters need to do anything?

No. Vanpool commuters will automatically be transitioned to one of the six new flat rate fares based on daily round trip commute miles. The new fares will be listed on May fare statements being sent on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

PART-TIME RIDER SERVICE

As part of the transition to flat rate fares, we are launching a permanent part-time rider service starting in May 2022. This is designed to allow hybrid commuters with a consistent in-office work schedule the ability to join a vanpool group. Part-time riders will pay a daily rate based on the daily round trip commute miles of the vehicle.

Daily Round Trip Miles (Vehicle) Daily Fare Per Rider
< 100 $15
100 + $20

 

Part-time riders will be attached to a full-time commuter vanpool group consisting of three or more participants. They will also receive a fare statement each month like those received by full-time riders. There is no required minimum number of commute days each month for part-time riders. For example, a part-time rider could vanpool as little as one day per month. There is also no maximum number of commute days for part-time riders, however, if part-time riders commute frequently enough it would be advantageous to join as a full-time rider and pay a monthly fare. 

Later this year, we are also launching a flexible daily rider service that will allow commuters with a fluctuating in-office work schedule to reserve open seats on qualifying vanpool groups. This will include an online reservation, notification, and payment processing interface at PTVanpool.com. It is anticipated that the flexible daily rider service will launch sometime in the third quarter of 2022.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach out to us at Vanpool@PierceTransit.org or 253.581.8000 (option 3, then 2).