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Starting Aug. 1, Vanpools traveling over Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be exempt from tolls

Starting Aug. 1, Vanpools that travel between the Kitsap Peninsula and Tacoma via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will no longer be required to pay the $5 bridge toll. The Washington State Transportation Commission adopted tolling exemption changes last year with an eye toward achieving consistency across the state’s tolled facilities. The changes included extending the tolling exemption to several transportation categories on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, including all bus, paratransit and Vanpool trips. The Narrows Bridge was the state’s only facility where transit had been paying tolls.

Nearly 80 Pierce Transit Vanpool vans cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge each weekday, and people riding those vans have been splitting the toll costs between their riders. Collectively, Pierce Transit vanpoolers crossing the bridge have been paying about $8,300 each month in tolls. Those rider costs will be eliminated once the new policy goes into effect Aug. 1, and future vanpoolers will not be subject to the toll. A typical person that drives their car across the bridge to work on weekdays can save more than $100 a month, or more than $1,200 a year, on tolls by joining a Vanpool.

Because buses and SHUTTLE paratransit vehicles will also be exempt from tolls, the agency will experience a savings of about $84,000 a year. 

Pierce Transit vanpool groups consist of five to 15 people sharing the ride in a 7-, 12-, or 15-passenger van. Any group traveling to and from work, whose trip origin or destination is within Pierce County, is eligible to form a Pierce Transit vanpool. The typical cost to vanpool is about $100 per month per rider, which includes fuel, maintenance, insurance and use of the vehicle.

Pierce Transit currently has incentives in place for starting or joining a Vanpool:
  • A $50 gift card for all new riders joining existing vanpools; and
  • A $100 gift card for each rider or the first month free for those forming a new vanpool.
Vanpoolers report many benefits from being in the program, including reduced commuting costs; less wear-and-tear on their personal vehicle; more productive use of commute time; less stress than driving alone; use of the HOV lane for shorter travel times; environmental benefits and the Emergency Ride Home option, which covers the cost of a ride home when a Vanpooler experiences an emergency, such as a sick child.  

To learn more about Vanpooling or to join or form a Vanpool, contact Pierce Transit at:
For assistance finding fellow vanpool riders, visit RideshareOnline.com

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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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