Riders sought for area vanpool, carpool plan

STEUBENVILLE — Area residents looking to save money on their daily commutes to work and school can consider participating in a vanpool or carpool arranged by the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission.

BHJ Office Manager Adrienne Ward has matched local residents seeking to ride with others to the same destinations while working with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s CommuteInfo program.

Currently four vanpools travel to downtown Pittsburgh — three from Weirton and one from Steubenville — but there’s opportunity to add more vans if there’s enough demand, she said.

The vans have a capacity of between six and 15 people, and there are a few seats available on many of those currently in use.

Participants pay a monthly fee that goes toward the costs of fueling and maintaining the vans, which are provided by CommuteInfo. Because those costs are spread among several commuters, participants see a drop in their travel expenses, Ward said.

“Commuting through the rideshare program is good for your wallet and the planet,” she said, noting vanpooling and carpooling reduces pollution emitted by vehicles.

“Participants are always surprised at how much they save on gas and car repair,” Ward added.

She noted the program also helps to reduce or eliminate daily parking fees for those who otherwise would use public parking facilities.

Ward also has matched many residents to others who wish to carpool using their own vehicles. In such cases, participants decide among themselves who will drive and when and how to divide the costs.

Carpools registered through CommuteInfo can use high occupancy vehicle lanes, which reduces travel time, she noted.

Ward said regionally more than 800 participate in CommuteInfo.

Those interested may learn more by visiting Ward from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Weirton Scheetz gas station, where music will be provided by WOGH-FM and prizes awarded.

For information, call (888) 819-6110 or visit commuteinfo.org, which includes a calculator with which visitors can determine their costs to participate in a vanpool.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaroline.com.)