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Vanpool Vantage Newsletter Archive

Winter 2013

Winter

Welcome Back, Brenda!

We’d like to RE-welcome our newest vanpool coordinator, Brenda Davis! Many veteran vanpoolers will remember Brenda, who was a Pierce Transit vanpool coordinator from 2003 to 2011. Brenda’s first day back on the job was November 19; she jumped back into her coordinator role full speed ahead and is already successfully managing 60 groups.

We’re very excited to have her back. Welcome home, Brenda!


 

December Overnight Parking

If your vanpool group will not be traveling for a few days in December, please be sure your van is parked in a secure location during that time. If you normally park the van overnight at a store parking lot, please move the van to a driver’s home during plant shutdown. Groups that park at Tacoma Dome Station may remain parked there during Christmas break.


 

Summer Incentive

Thanks to all who participated in the Summer Fun Vanpool Rewards incentive program! We gained 146 new monthly riders during the incentive period! New monthly riders who joined a Pierce Transit vanpool from July 1 through September 1 and remained monthly riders for at least three months qualified to receive a $40 Target gift card. Recruiters will receive a $20 gift card for referring the new rider. Gift cards will be mailed the week of December 9, just in time for holiday shopping! If you have moved, please let us know ASAP so we can mail it to the right address.


 

Where’d Everybody Go?

You may have noticed that the lobby of Pierce Transit’s Training Center (where Vanpool is located) is no longer staffed. That’s because our customer service team has relocated to the Tacoma Dome Station Bus Shop. Our lobby doors will remain unlocked during business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). If you arrive outside normal business hours, be sure to bring your vanpool gate pass with you to access the building and/or the employee lot where we park the vans. You can call vanpool staff from the lobby phone next to the elevator – dial the complete number (including 9+area code) of the person you want to reach. We also suggest calling your coordinator BEFORE stopping by, to ensure she’s available to meet with you when you arrive.


 

I-502 – Marijuana Law

While Washington State has legalized use and possession of small amounts of marijuana, Pierce Transit receives federal funding and must abide by federal laws. Since marijuana is considered a banned substance per the federal government, Pierce Transit vanpoolers may not drive or ride in the vanpool vehicle while carrying or after consuming any substances containing marijuana, including medication, food and candy. This policy keeps our agency consistent with both federal law and state restrictions against impaired driving.

Questions? Please contact your Pierce Transit vanpool coordinator.


 

Online Payment

If you pay all or part of your vanpool fare out-of-pocket, consider trying out Pierce Transit’s online payment tool.

Just like any other form of vanpool fare payment, online payments are due before the first of the month. For example, January fares are due before January 1. So you’ll either:

  1. Pay online before January 1 (and show your bookkeeper the receipt), or
  2. Give a check, money order or cashier’s check to your bookkeeper before January 1. Note: We’re trying to reduce the amount of cash that we receive, so please avoid making cash payments if at all possible.

Online payment troubleshooting tips:

Problem: I didn’t receive an electronic receipt.
Solution: It’s possible the email address you entered was incorrect…in which case, a receipt would not be sent. Contact your vanpool coordinator to verify your payment was received.

Problem: The transaction was declined.
Solution: It’s possible the card number was entered incorrectly, or there is not enough money loaded on the card you used. Or you may have entered an incorrect billing address. If you’re using a personal credit card, be sure to use the address the bill for that card goes to.


 

Winter Driving Tips

Driving too fast is the main cause of accidents in inclement weather, and every winter people are involved in collisions because they are overconfident on rainy, icy and snowy roads. The following safety tips can help keep you on the road and in control:

  • Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Avoid sudden braking
  • Slow down

We all play a role in keeping safe and accident-free this winter season. If there’s rain, ice or snow, GO SLOW!


2014 Insurance Cards

2014 insurance cards will be mailed to primary drivers the week of December 9. Please let your vanpool coordinator know ASAP if you have a new mailing address. Once you receive the card, place it in the driver’s side visor. Discard the 2013 cards after January 1.

New Vanpool Contact Numbers

Pierce Transit Vanpool has a new fax number: 253.444.2559. If you recently sent a fax to the old number, never fear – we can still retrieve it. However, that number now belongs to another department, so please note (and use!) the new number.

Vanpool 24/7 emergency phone: This number is currently the same at 253.381.3762.

The Vanpool general inquiry line (253.983.3377) is no longer in use. Please call your vanpool coordinator directly (see below), or refer callers with general vanpool questions to 253.581.8000.

Vanpool Staff
Tammy Apthorp - 253.581.8089
Ellen Cintron - 253.589.6899
Lynne Cunningham - 253.983.3321
Brenda Davis - 253.581.8093
Lani Fowlkes - 253.984.8212
Heidi Hunter - 253.581.8079
Tracy Klein - 253.983.3375



 

Kudos

Like most people, we love being appreciated. Here are a few notes we received recently from happy vanpool customers…

"Thank you very, very much for your help. The people I have worked with at Pierce Transit have all been super! Having been a manager of a group of people in my civil service days, I understand how difficult it is to do a job that requires the coordination of lots of people doing lots of divergent tasks - and you all do it so very well. Just want you to know that I appreciate it very much!"

"Thanks to the Pierce Transit TEAM on your amazingly quick response to our brake problem yesterday! We noticed that the rear right brake drum had seized up… smell of hot brakes and smoke! I parked the van, called the emergency #, and less than a minute after we arrived at our destination, the tow truck pulled in with our loaner! We were all very impressed! Thanks again for the superb service."

"Hooray for online payment! Thank you. We LOVE it!"

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Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.

Addresses

  • You don't need to type in the city along with the address. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type 110 Jones instead of 110 Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 1000 Main instead of 1000 S Main. But type 1000 West Viewmont for 1000 West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets and addresses are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby location, such as an intersection or a landmark.
  • You should not enter the suite number or apartment number.  Just the house number and street name (Example: type in 401 Broadway instead of 401 Broadway Avenue Suite 800).

Intersections

  • The "&" symbol is the only character used between two street names to show an intersection. (Examples: 1st & B, James & Madison)
  • You don't need to type in the city. The Trip Planner shows the possible city names as options if needed. City names are based on zip codes.
  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
  • Some streets are unknown to the Trip Planner. You may need to enter another nearby intersection or a landmark.

Landmarks

Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


 

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