Early Tuesday morning, Airman First Class Rachel Blevins piloted the 100th van of the Commuteride fleet onto the road from the Boise Towne Square Mall toward Mountain Home Air Force Base allowing the nations oldest vanpool program of its type to hit a major milestone.
Getting the 100th route into operation has been a long-term goal of Commuteride, an alternative transportation program that gets groups of commuters together to share the ride to a common destination. The program saves the riders money, creates more space on area roadways and cuts air pollution in the process.
Were just so happy to achieve this its been a long-time coming, said ACHD Commissioner Carol McKee, who handed the keys over to Blevins on Monday. The next goal: 150 vans.
A vanpool is similar to a large carpool, typically with 11 to 14 commuters in a large van who share similar commute trips and work schedules.
ACHDs program, originally called Valley Commuteride, dates back to 1977 and the gas crisis and began service with two rented vans from Sun Valley Transportation during the summer off season when the ski area didnt need them.
Today, Commuteride has 980 riders, servicing commuters from as far as Malheur, Ore. and Elmore County. Last year alone, an estimated 13.8 million miles of car trips were avoided by riders using the program, which translated into nearly 1,300 fewer tons of carbon dioxide and other air pollution and reduced traffic congestion.
Equipment funding for Commuteride comes primarily from federal transportation dollars with a 20-percent match from ACHD. The remainder of the program, including van maintenance and fuel, pays for itself through rider fares.
ACHD Commuteride provides passenger vans to groups interested in starting a vanpool and works to coordinate the route set up and fare payment process.