Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Vanpool Program
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility’s Vanpool Program proved to be a highly valuable resource to the company, participating employees, local communities, regional transportation authorities, and the Federal Government. The program’s attributes include sustainable cost control, demand growth and expansions, near 100% reliability, and great flexibility.
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP) instituted its Vanpool Program in 1980 when the workforce increased to almost 5,000. Other organizations had begun using the adjacent facilities on Quonset Point, limiting EBQP’s parking capacity. A heightened sensitivity to caring for the environment and an energy crises were also occurring. In response to these conditions, EBQP established “QuonseTrans,” a non-profit operation made possible through special Federal and State incentives to acquire vans and operate them in an affordable, long-term arrangement. The program’s objectives were to reduce commuting costs for the general workforce and extend the company’s recruiting area by enticing potential workers from further distances with the benefit of the Vanpool Program. At the height of the program, QuonseTrans was serving almost 500 employees; however, during the 1990s, a dramatic downsizing in workforce reduced the number of employees served to 126.
A major attribute of the Vanpool Program is an interest-free loan to finance the vans. The loan is offered with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation from the Federal Highway Administration, and is a 48-month loan with extended warranties covering an extra five years or 90,000 miles beyond the normal 100,000 miles accrued during the loan’s term. The vans are purchased from a local dealer offering the lowest of three bids, and the price is further reduced if a fleet is purchased (between 10 to 20 vans). The current cost to employees is $15 per week for a rider seat and $10 per week for a driver seat, plus fuel costs. Since the Vanpool Program began, the rider/driver costs have increased only three times. Drivers are screened for good driving records and checked by on-site physicians for health conditions that could increase risk. The vans and riders are insured through a blanket policy that covers all vehicles operated by EBQP. A long-term relationship with a local towing and maintenance company keeps the vans available for service nearly 100% of the time, and loaner vans are furnished when necessary. The program is currently serving more than 150 employees with 20 vans.
EBQP’s Vanpool Program includes Federal income tax deferrals for participants to cover their fees. The service is safe, reliable, offers a friendly commuting service, and has helped reduce highway congestion, pollution, and commuting time.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.