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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 05 | Mar. 8, 2001

Vanpools ease campus commute

Fleet comprises nearly one-third of vanpools in the GVRD

by Andy Poon staff writer

Connie Fabro knows a good travel deal when she sees one.

For the better part of the past decade, she has managed travel contracts for the university as the travel manager in the Purchasing Dept. so it's no surprise that she commutes each day to the university from her home in White Rock via a vanpool.

"There are a whole bunch of us going to one place for work and with so many cars on the road, it's silly that we are each in our own cars driving to the same place," she says. "And then you add the expense of parking and such in driving your own car and it makes sense to vanpool."

Fabro travels in an eight-person vanpool arranged through the Jack Bell Foundation, a partner of the university's Trek Program Centre. When it isn't her turn to do the driving, she typically spends the 50-minute morning commute reading or resting.

"It's pretty quiet in the mornings. People seem to want very little conversation then," she laughs. "And it's nice to have someone else do the driving; it takes the tension away."

Gord Lovegrove, director of Transportation Planning, says that the university's vanpool has grown to 26 vehicles from 16 in November 1997 -- an increase of more than 50 per cent.

The campus vanpool comprises nearly one-third of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's vanpool fleet. The Jack Bell Foundation partnered with UBC to form one of the first vanpool programs in the GVRD in 1992.

"It's a good return for investment for transportation for UBC," says Lovegrove. "It's reducing congestion and air pollution and getting people to campus in a less stressed way. It helps UBC create a more livable community and helps to attract and retain faculty, students and staff -- all important factors in Trek 2000, the university's vision document."

Lovegrove says that as a result of the university's strategic transportation plan -- officially approved by UBC's Board of Governors in November 1999 -- significant progress has been made towards meeting the university's goal to decrease the number of single occupant vehicles travelling to campus by 20 per cent in the next few years.

"There's an increase of 23 per cent more transit service to campus," says Lovegrove. "That's 21 per cent more riders or 23,000 people taking transit to and from UBC each day."

Additional transit achievements include more than 500 staff discount transit passes issued and more than 5,000 participants in the student Fastrax program. The program allows one-zone transit passes to be extended through three zones.

While all of this may mean more bus riders, Lovegrove expects that the shift in class start times this fall will help relieve commuters of crowded buses during the morning rush.

Lovegrove concedes that the proposed U-Trek card -- a transit pass with bundled car, vanpool parking and bike benefits -- will not likely be ready this year, as the university, Translink and the AMS have yet to resolve the issue of price for the cards.

"But the U-Trek card is not dead," Lovegrove says. He points out that a student referendum on the issue may still be held sometime in the next academic year.

For Fabro, there has been an additional benefit to sharing a vehicle with other UBC faculty and staff members twice a day.

"We've got a good mix of people in the van from all over the campus," she says. "It helps to be able to share ideas from around the university and it adds to my own understanding of how others look at issues on campus."

more information

For more information on how to set up a van or carpool and details of the university's strategic transportation plan, visit www.trek.ubc.ca.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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