(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi island residents will soon have a new transportation option, as County officials on Tuesday introduced the Hele-On Vanpool, a new program that will subsidize 30 vans at $500 per month.
“Our administration is focused on creating a sustainable island community, where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations to come,” said Mayor Mitch Roth in a news release. “Reducing our carbon footprint, alleviating traffic congestion, and improving the commute for our working class is all part of that vision, and we applaud the work of our Mass Transit Agency for providing yet another tool for our residents to get to and fro.”
The service is provided by Commute with Enterprise, a service of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. From the Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Agency news release:
Participants can choose a qualifying vanpool vehicle from a selection of makes and models, including crossovers, SUVs, minivans, and large passenger vans. In addition, vanpools have access to Enterprise’s Guaranteed Ride Home program, ensuring they can leave work at unscheduled times worry-free. The service also provides 24-hour roadside assistance, liability insurance, and scheduled maintenance within the vanpool pricing. Vanpoolers may also choose to upgrade their vehicles with such optional high-end features as wheelchair lifts, bicycle racks, satellite radio, in-vehicle Wi-Fi service, and power ports for individual seats.
“The average driver spends about $600 a month on fuel and vehicle expenses, whereas the average vanpool rider spends about $80 to $150 a month, based on seven passengers contributing to the cost,” said John Andoh, Mass Transit Administrator & General Manager of Hele-On. “By joining a vanpool, you can avoid commuting’s wear and tear on your vehicle and save money on transportation by splitting the cost with fellow riders.”
“Enterprise is supporting Hele-On as it brings positive change to the island,” said Commute with Enterprise’s Jason Oka. “Our mission is to provide commuters with a more convenient way to get to and from work, ensuring that everyone has access to transportation choices that can take them where they need to go safely and efficiently.”
The vanpool pricing does not include gasoline (pre-loaded fuel cards are provided for each vanpool), van washing, or taxes. However, these prices will vary, and the costs will still be shared between the vanpool riders or the company sponsoring the vanpool. Companies and employees can also pursue pre-tax benefits through the IRS to subsidize a portion of the costs.
Support for the vanpooling service comes from the extensive Enterprise Rent-A-Car neighborhood network, which delivers an unmatched level of fleet flexibility and local service.
Hele-On Vanpool is meant to be a service that will help determine the implementation of future bus routes if demand is present. Potential destinations that Hele-On Vanpool would target are companies with large commuter populations.