Throughout the month of November riders from eight vanpools across the central Indiana area participated in a canned food drive contest. The event, which was sponsored by Central Indiana Commuter Services, awarded one point for donated item.
In the end, over 100 nonperishable food items were collected for donation to Gleaners Food Bank and it was the vanpool from Cloverdale that won the contest and received a $100 gas card to go toward their travels.
The Cloverdale vanpool was started in 2005 and is leased out of a national company, VPSI. The van has the capacity to hold 12 commuters, but 10 commuters who use the van to travel 80 miles roundtrip each day.
"We're very flexible," said vanpool driver Jerry Rud. "We try to accommodate people in the downtown area."
The vanpool is federally funded Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CITRA) service; Central Indiana Commuter Services (CICS) assists the commuters on finding and using alternative transportation. Participants pay a monthly fare and share gas costs. However, costs are defrayed by monthly subsidies provided by either passengers' employers or CICS.
A $75 monthly fee is charged for a permanent rider with a reserved seat while an $8 fee is charged for riders who only occasionally ride in the vanpool. Passengers are also able to receive free Emergency Ride Home Services via a cab.
"It's a group of people who share the expense of the van," said Rud. "We try to make as few stops as possible and it seems to work out pretty well."
The vanpool leaves each morning at 6:20 a.m. from the Cloverdale highway garage and makes stops at IUPUI, VA Medical Center, Riley Children's Hospital and the State Government Center.
"It took a little while to spark interest," said Rud. "We initially had seven people and then more people learned about it through time and eventually we grew to 12 riders. However, two people have opted out just recently."
The vanpool currently consists of VA Hospital employees Patty Sloan of Reelsville, Patrick Bryd of Cloverdale, Kim Silbaugh of Bainbridge and Judy Morris of Spencer, State of Indiana employees Cara Gerlach of Martinsville, Debbie Mann of Cloverdale, Bob Sonnefeld of Poland and Jerry Rud of Greencastle, IUPUI employee Bruce Warren of Martinsville and Simon IU Cancer Center employee Carrie Hensel of Greencastle.
The vanpool is currently looking for two more permanent riders. Participants can also ride occasionally when there is an open seat.
For more information visit www.327ride.net or 317-327-RIDE.