Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Brooks had a simple reason for starting the van pool system that now transports more than 40 soldiers and airmen among Stead, Reno, Fernley and Carson City on their daily commute.
“I’m cheap,” he said.
Brooks established a partnership on behalf of the Nevada Guard with the vRide company that is saving soldiers and airmen thousands of dollars each month while decreasing fuel consumption and emissions.
Forty-three Nevada Guard soldiers and airmen make round trips daily in vRide van pools each morning to the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City, vRide market manager Christina Uranga said. Assuming a round-trip average of 60 miles for each commuter, the riders save a collective $251.55 a day based on AAA of Nevada’s estimate for the cost of driving a vehicle a mile (58.5 cents).
An internal Nevada Guard report compiled in July estimates the program saved commuters $16,506 in fuel costs and reduced commuters’ combined mileage by 114,629 miles from November 2012 through June.
“The partnership between vRide and the Nevada Guard has expanded quickly and works out well for both parties,” Uranga said. “Guard commuters can save a lot of wear and tear on their vehicles with no out-of-pocket expenses.”
Government subsidies cover the van pool program’s expenses. A Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission subsidy program combined with Department of Transportation commute-reimbursement vouchers for government employees compensates vRide for the cost of operating and maintaining the four vRide vans the Nevada Guard drives.
Brooks, a personnel services sergeant for the 757th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, came up with the idea for the vRide reimbursement when he learned many government employee commuter vouchers for Guardsmen were going unused each month. He contacted Sierra Army Depot official Colleen Mode, who had started a daily van pool from Reno to Herlong, Calif., for advice and then quickly worked with Uranga to set up the first Guard van pool in November.
The first Reno van pool had 12 riders traveling in one van. The program retains the Reno route and now has two Stead-to-Carson City vans and one Fernley-to-Carson City van. Two additional van pools are set to begin this fall: an added pool from Stead and one from Gardnerville.
For information about establishing a vRide van pool anywhere in Nevada, call Uranga at 775-636-4028. For information about joining a Nevada Guard vRide van pool, call Brooks at 775-674-5016.