Summer Vanpool Incentive

Summer is the perfect time to create a better lifestyle that includes healthier eating, more exercise, and of course, vanpooling. And now, new vanpoolers and their recruiters can cash in during Pierce Transit's Summer Fun Vanpool Rewards! New riders joining (or starting) a vanpool between July 1 and September 1 are eligible, as are the folks who recruit them.

We're able to offer this awesome incentive by requiring 3 months of ridership (fares), and by keeping the rewards a bit lower than in previous years ($40 for new vanpoolers, and $20 for recruiters).

Added bonus: If you work in for a partnering Pierce County employer, be sure to log your trips on PierceTrips.com and check out PierceTrips' Summer Smart Commute Rewards campaign, which runs July 1-31. You could become eligible for more great rewards!


Vanpool Report Deadline

Huge thanks to bookkeepers and riders for working together to get vanpool monthly reports and monies to us sooner, as close to the first of the month as possible. Despite recent staffing reductions, we are still required to meet federal reporting deadlines. We already notice and appreciate your efforts – THANK YOU!

Please continue tracking exact month-end mileage, per your van's odometer reading at the end of the commute on the last day of the month. No estimating, please. We are required to report exact mileage. Thank you all for helping us meet our deadlines and keep on track – you're the best!

Online payment is in full swing and is a great way to ensure your vanpool payment is received on time. With online payment, you can quickly and easily pay out-of-pocket vanpool fares and Narrows Bridge tolls (if applicable). Bookkeepers, feel free to record BOTH online fare payments AND online toll payments in the Online Payment column of the new fare report which you can download from our Forms & Resources page, Bookkeeper Tools section. For example, if a person is paying $100 in fare and $10 in tolls, enter +100+10. The built-in formula will calculate the total of $110, AND if we click on that cell, it will show us how that $110 is broken down.

Remember: All fare and toll payments are due before the first of each month.


New Tolls Cheat Sheet

If you cross the Narrows Bridge during your commute, here are the new toll fees, effective July 1:

  • 5-day work week: $85
  • 4-day work week: $72.25
  • 6-day work week: $106.25
  • 7-day work week: $123.25
  • 9/80's work week: $80.75

Furloughs and Your Commute

If you are a federal employee and your vanpool group's work schedule will be affected by the upcoming furloughs, please let your Pierce Transit vanpool coordinator know. If everyone in the group no longer has the same work hours, we can help recombine groups if needed to get through the next several months of schedule changes.


Summer Driving

Summer Driving (Adapted with permission from Evergreen Safety Council)

Warm weather is here, kids are almost out of school and vacation plans abound! Please be careful out there… accord¬ing to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, over a five-year period (2006-2010) 40% of motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries occurred during the months of June through September…prime vacation time in the Pacific Northwest. Fifty-four percent of fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk and help keep your riders (vanpool and otherwise) safe:

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good safe operating condition. Checking such things as lights, windows, mirrors, tires and fluids doesn't take long. Make sure your personal vehicle has an emergency kit, including first aid supplies.
  • Plan your trips – be aware of any weather issues, road construction or other potential hazards that you may encounter.
  • Be aware of the risks of travelling between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., a time when nearly 40% of fatal crashes occur…due to decreased visibility, DUI drivers and driver drowsiness.
  • Always drive defensively. Avoid traveling in other drivers' blind spots, and expect the unexpected from other drivers.
  • Scan the road – take in the whole scene- in front, on your side and in your rear, including other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, signage, and potential road hazards;
  • Eliminate distractions – keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel and your mind on driving.
  • Control your speed (40% of fatal crashes involved speed as a cause). Think about this – if driving from Seattle to Spokane (284 miles) you would save approximately 42 minutes in travel time when your speed is 85 mph versus 70 mph on the highway, and your risk of death increases by approximately eight times. Is saving a few minutes worth the risk?
  • Don't Tailgate! In good conditions, with good brakes and tires, a car travelling 65 mph takes approximately 366 feet to stop – that's longer than a football field! Wet pavement increases that to 550 feet (nearly two football fields). In a car, keep at least three seconds distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. In a van, increase following distance to four seconds.
  • Use the left lane only for passing.
  • Don't use hand gestures.
  • Avoid angry drivers – Don't engage them.

Keep a positive attitude and enjoy the journey. Don't become a statistic.


Vanpool Window Clings

Vanpool Window Cling

You may notice some cool new clings popping up on the backs of PT vanpool vehicles – they are there to advertise our program and remind folks that smart commute options are at their fingertips. If someone inquires about your vanpool as a result of the new cling, please let us know. The clings will be placed on the rear window the next time your van is here for service.


Bikes on Vans

Bikes on Vans

Want to make bicycling a part of your commute? If you'd like to install a bike rack on your van, please go right ahead. You may do so as long as it doesn't require alterations to the van, i.e., screws, bolts, etc. Strap-on racks are the a great solution. The bike rack belongs to whoever purchased it. Questions? Call your Pierce Transit vanpool coordinator.


Bear-Sized Kudos

This story gives a whole new meaning to "a bear of a commute"...

On Thursday, June 27, while driving on Issaquah-Hobart Road around 4:30 p.m., one of our vanpool groups was involved in what we nominate as the strangest vanpool accident ever: A large black bear ran out into the roadway and struck the left front portion of van 7197! The bear then jumped the guard rail along the right side of the road and ran into the woods.

The area the van was traveling is a two-lane 40 mph zone with a narrow shoulder. During commute hours traffic typically flows below the speed limit. Thankfully, the van was traveling only around 25 mph and no one was injured.

Kudos to primary driver Phil Bonderud, who kept his wits about him. He pulled off the roadway when it was safe, and the group worked together to check the condition of the van, take photos, and call Pierce Transit.

This group is a great example of what to do during and after an accident. They:

  1. Made safety a priority
  2. Reported the accident immediately
  3. Thoroughly documented

Way to go, guys!

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Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.

Addresses

  • You don't need to type in the city along with the address. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type 110 Jones instead of 110 Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 1000 Main instead of 1000 S Main. But type 1000 West Viewmont for 1000 West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets and addresses are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby location, such as an intersection or a landmark.
  • You should not enter the suite number or apartment number.  Just the house number and street name (Example: type in 401 Broadway instead of 401 Broadway Avenue Suite 800).

Intersections

  • The "&" symbol is the only character used between two street names to show an intersection. (Examples: 1st & B, James & Madison)
  • You don't need to type in the city. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby intersection or a landmark.

Landmarks

Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


 

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