News Flash

City of Durham News

Posted on: May 6, 2022

Durham Offers New Vanpooling Subsidy to Provide Commuters with More Sustainable Mobility Options

save money and fuel when you start commuting together

Partnership Between City of Durham, Durham County, and Commute with Enterprise Welcomes Corning Life Sciences as First Employer to Take Advantage of New Program

Durham commuters interested in saving up to 75% on their commuting costs versus driving their own personal vehicle can now take advantage of discounted vanpools thanks to a new subsidy from the City of Durham Transportation Department’s Way to Go Durham program.

With financial support from the Durham County Transit Plan, Way to Go Durham, Durham County, and Commute with Enterprise have partnered to provide discounted vanpools for groups of four or more commuters who pick their route, schedule, and pick-up points in a vehicle maintained by Commute with Enterprise. The program contributes up to $1,500 per month toward the cost of new vanpools starting and/or ending in Durham County. The subsidy will cover all of the program’s costs, excluding fuel, for the majority of the commuter groups and includes maintenance, insurance, and 24-hour roadside assistance. 

“Our Way to Go Durham program is committed to exploring innovative options that support our equitable engagement initiatives to help ensure Durham residents have access to job opportunities as well as less stress in commuting,” said City of Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal. “Way to Go Durham is leading the charge to reduce the number of people who drive alone to work throughout Durham, and provide access to those who do not own vehicles. I’m grateful that Durham County has partnered with our Transportation Department on this work to develop the vanpool subsidy program. Expanding mobility options symbolizes our commitment to innovation, equitable access to opportunity for all residents, and our continued focus on decreasing our carbon footprint.”

Vanpool commuters drive themselves to and from work and design their personalized route and schedule. Passengers in a new vanpool also have access to a free Emergency Ride Home program in case the vanpool driver has to leave unexpectedly, if a passenger or a member of their family gets sick, or if anyone has to work unexpected overtime. Each vanpool program is customized to the specific needs of its four or more vanpoolers. Participants can choose a qualifying vanpool vehicle from Enterprise’s selection of makes and models, including crossovers, SUVs, minivans, and ample passenger vans. Vanpoolers may decide to upgrade their vehicles with optional high-end features such as satellite radio, in-vehicle Wi-Fi service, and power ports for individual seats. As part of Enterprise’s Complete Clean Pledge, Commute with Enterprise provides best practices for cleaning and Complete Clean Starter Kits for new Commutes.   

“Durham County continues to make significant investments to maintain and grow our local economy. Transportation should never be a barrier to any resident seeking employment and educational opportunities, and the County has prioritized providing access to these jobs by financially supporting Way to Go Durham’s subsidized vanpools in addition to emerging on-demand services like GoDurham Connect and RTP Connect as well as other innovative transit options,” said Durham County Board of County Commissioners Chair Brenda Howerton.

Employees at Corning Life Science’s Durham Campus are the first group to take advantage of the new subsidy. “Being a part of this vanpool campaign shows that we are committed to helping our employees save time and money and reduce the stress of commuting while decreasing our carbon footprint,” said Human Resources Manager Amy Poli. “We’re excited that our employees are the first group to use the subsidy, and we hope that other companies in this area will follow.” According to Senior Process Engineer Medie Weledji with Corning Life Sciences, the current high fuel costs were the tipping point for his participation in the vanpooling program. “We learned about the opportunity to use the subsidy to help save us time and money commuting to and from work,” Weledji said. “The current gas price increase is a big driver in my decision to participate, and I am excited to begin commuting to work in the vanpool because now, as a passenger, I can read a book or catch up on my favorite TV shows.”

Durham commuters interested in joining the Way to Go Durham vanpooling subsidy program may visit the program’s website or send an email to learn more.

About the City of Durham Transportation Department’s Way to Go Durham Program

The Transportation Department remains steadfast in its commitment to providing and maintaining quality, multimodal infrastructure to improve mobility, promote environmental sustainability, and enhance the quality of life for current and future Durham residents, businesses, and visitors. The department also works with its regional partners to create and identify cost-effective solutions to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips. These solutions are part of a program, Way To Go Durham, that aims to make individuals and employers aware of commuting choices and resources in and around Durham. To learn more, follow the program on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn