In December 2018, The COMET launched The COMET Vanpool, a one-year pilot to subsidize 20 purple and white vans at $500 per month not to exceed $120,000 per year as long as van originates or ends in Richland or Lexington Counties. The service is provided by Commute With Enterprise. The first The COMET Vanpool that has started is with ECM Support Services, out of West Columbia, South Carolina. ECM Support Services provides support and services to adults with Autism and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. They are a qualified service provider licensed and funded through the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.
Van pricing with Commute With Enterprise starts at $950. Many sizes are available in a Ford Transit Van, Nissan Pathfinder as well as various types of luxury vans. Additional amenities such as bike racks and wheelchair lift can be added for an additional cost. The van pricing does not include gasoline, van washing and taxes, however, employers and employees, through the IRS can pursue pre-tax benefits to subsidize a portion of the commuting costs via a vanpool.
If emergences arise, Commute With Enterprise will provide an Emergency Ride Home program available when vanpool participants need an earlier ride home due to unforeseen circumstances.
The COMET Vanpool is meant to be a service that will help be the catalyst towards the implementation of a future bus routes if demand presents the need. Potential destinations that The COMET Vanpool would target includes WP Rawl, CMC Steel, Amazon, China Jushi, JUUL, Nephron, Samsung and TRANE, as well as other employer sites with large commuting populations.
The average driver spends about $750 a month on fuel and car expenses, whereas the average van pool rider spends about $85 to 95 a month based off seven people in one van paying the overall vanpool costs, according to The COMET’s Executive Director/CEO, John Andoh.
“You don’t have to put the wear and tear on your car, and plus with it being a van the cost gets lower because you can fit more people,” Andoh said.
Details are available by calling 1-800-VAN-4-WORK or visit https://www.commutewithenterprise.com/ to start a new vanpool, register to join an existing vanpool or for more information.