The rules are simple for Star Commuters Matt Willis and Scott Flowers’ vanpool – the first rule of “vanpool club”: mutual respect. The second rule of “vanpool club”: show up on time.
Matt (left) and Scott (right) serve as primary driver and backup driver/bookkeeper (respectively) for an 11-member vanpool that travels about 70 miles each day to and from the Marysville area, making stops in Lynnwood and Everett.
Matt, a master carpenter in Facility Design, started the vanpool four and a half years ago with about seven riders. As demand has grown over the years, so has the size of the van.
“If you live any distance away, there’s no better way to do it,” says Scott. “If you can work with your management to figure out your schedule where you can get on a vanpool, then you benefit from it. It’s almost like an extra paycheck with the money I save because my truck only gets 17 miles per gallon.”
The vanpool pilot and co-pilot say they both save about $300 to $400 a month in fuel costs by hopping on board the Community Transit van. Although their 5:15 a.m. departure time is a bit early, Scott says it’s definitely worth it.
“We get to ride in the HOV lane,” he says, noting it has taken up to two hours to get home when he’s had to drive alone. “It’s nice because I can sit over there in that passenger seat and Matt takes care of us.”
Scott, a Texas native, caught wind of the vanpool about eight months ago. “It was a little bit of a stretch for me to give up the control of driving myself because I was always in control of where I was going and what I was doing,” he says. “It was a learning curve.”
A learning curve that more than 300 Children’s vanpool riders in 53 total vanpools (four of which are all-electric Nissan Leaf vehicles) have also adapted to. Riders have a variety of excellent reasons
for joining a vanpool: cost and time savings, convenience, relaxation, fewer carbon emissions, no access to other public transit and more.
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