Spring 2015 Vanpool Newsletter


Meet Vanessa, our new Vanpool Assistant Custodian. She was hired in December of 2014, and her duties include (other than lifesaver extraordinaire) washing, vacuuming and fueling the spare van fleet. She also ensures your spare vans are stocked with all the right supplies, and helps with office tasks as available. Vanessa is dedicated to making our vanpool service run smoother – and she definitely succeeds!

Vanessa is also a very kind and compassionate person. She devotes her free time to her family and volunteering at JBLM (where her spouse works).

If you happen to do a van swap between 7-10am, you may see Vanessa working in our lot. Please join us in welcoming her to the team!

Vanpool Commute Compare

How does your commute compare?

Thank you for completing our Commute Times Audit. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires this data for the National Transit Database (NTD), and these stats help with annual reporting requirements for the transit industry nationally.

Curious about how your commute compares to other Pierce Transit vanpools? Here are a few highlights from the 2014 audit:

Highest round trip miles traveled: 158 miles
Average round trip miles traveled: 64 miles

Longest round trip commute time: 2 hours
Average round trip commute time: 54 minutes

Thanks again – we appreciate you helping us comply with this requirement.

WELCOME our newest vanpool groups!

Here are the latest smart commuters to form new Pierce Transit vanpools. These folks join the ranks of many others and are now saving money on their commute, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and improving the environment.

GIN Employer Origin  Work Hours
 1762 VA Medical Center, Seattle  Lakewood   0800-1630
 1766  Madigan Army Medical Center Olympia   0730-1600
 1767 TSA-SeaTac Airport  Tacoma   1300-0000
 1768 Western State Hospital  Gig Harbor   0730-1600
 1769 Boeing, Renton  Sumner   0400-1430
 1770 Boeing, Garden Plaza, Renton  Lake Tapps   0600-1430
1771 Madigan Army Medical Center  Puyallup   0700-1600
 1773 TSA - SeaTac Airport  Tacoma   0345-1215
 1774 Puget Sound Naval Shipyard  Tacoma   0630-1600
 1775 Puget Sound Naval Shipyard  Lakewood   0720-1602
 1776 State Farm, Tacoma  Belfair   0630-1530
 1777 Army Reserve Command  Tacoma   0700-1530

Incentives Now on the Web

We are excited to announce the addition of our new Incentives page on our website! Check out the details on how you can qualify for our Safe Driver incentive (through March 31): HERE

And here’s a sneak peek of our upcoming First Month Free incentive:

Spring Incentive Program

Spring Incentive – First Month FREE!

Excellent news: Pierce Transit Vanpool is offering, for the first time ever, a First Month Free incentive: New vanpool groups starting operation April 1 – July 1 pay ZERO vanpool fare for the first month of operation. OR, choose a $100 gift card instead – rider’s choice.

Here are some frequently-asked questions (and answers!) about this incentive . . .

Q:I’m already on a vanpool. What’s in it for me?
A: Be a recruiter! Recruiters cash in as well and will receive a $25 gift card for each monthly rider referred to a new group (maximum reward is $125). To be eligible for the recruiter reward, your recruit must be a monthly rider in the group’s first month of operation.

Q: I’m a current PT vanpooler but my work hours are changing and I want to start a new group. How can I qualify for First Month Free?
A: We will form First Month Free vanpools according to our usual rules for new formations: 1. Before forming a new group, we’ll first ensure that you can’t be served by an existing Pierce Transit vanpool. 2. Formation of the new group must not cause disbandment of an existing Pierce Transit vanpool.

Q: How can I qualify as a recruiter?
A: Recruiter name must be reported at the time the new rider joins. Have your new recruit(s) write, “Referred by: Your Name” on their participant agreement.

Find this and other vanpool incentives on the Pierce Transit website. And as always, log your smart commute trips at PierceTrips.com (Pierce County employers) and RideshareOnline.com to be eligible for even more rewards.

12th Man appreciation winners

Football season is over and we are left feeling a little, well…deflated. But the Hawks had an outstanding year and we still have something to cheer about…for instance, PT Vanpool’s 12th Fan Appreciation Drawing! We figure if you’ve vanpooled a year or more, vanpooling is a healthy habit in your life (healthy for you, your wallet, and the environment), and that deserves a little somethin’.

So for the 12 days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, we conducted a random drawing to reward 12 vanpoolers who’ve been with us for at least 12 months. Recipients of the appreciation rewards received a $25 gift code to the Seattle Seahawks Team Store.

But wait! There’s more! By popular demand, we ADDED an appreciation award for vanpoolers who have been our customers for 12+ YEARS. And we’re pleased to say there are more than 80 of you (of approximately 2,600 total current customers) who have indeed vanpooled with Pierce Transit for 12+ years! We did a random drawing of those. And the winner is….

Gloria Leary, who works at Puget Sound Energy! Gloria has been a Pierce Transit vanpooler since 2001, and we’re happy to say “thank you” by emailing her a $50 gift code to the Seattle Seahawks Team Store.

Thanks again for making Pierce Transit Vanpool a part of your daily routine!

Told ya cheering the Seahawks on to TWO consecutive Super Bowls wasn’t the only cool thing about the number 12…

What do fellow vanpoolers say about Pierce Transit?

It’s nice to be appreciated. It makes our day, so we’re sharing because we hope it makes you smile, too…

“I’m so thankful for Pierce Transit & my employer for the opportunity to vanpool since December 2000. Everyone at Pierce Transit is always kind, helpful and smiling. I’ve been a primary driver, bookkeeper & backup driver during my vanpool time, and appreciate being able to nap or check social media as a rider. I gave myself a raise when I moved from San Diego to the Seattle/Tacoma area by joining the vanpool. It’s saved me a ton of money over the years. Thank you for all you do!”
~ Rya C., Van #7161, State Farm, Dupont

To submit comments about vanpooling, please email vanpool@piercetransit.org.

battery light

Battery light

If and when the battery light in your van comes on, notify your vanpool coordinator. We need to know about it right away so we can schedule you to pick up a replacement van. We don’t want you to end up with a dead battery and then have to wait on us to bring you a new van. Notifying us immediately saves you time, and saves us time and money.

lane changing tips

Lane change tips

Did you know that in 2014, your Pierce Transit vanpool team fielded 113 safety-related complaints? Many of those had to do with lane changes.

We realize that lane changes are sometimes necessary. Examples of appropriate reasons to change lanes include:

  • Your lane is ending.
  • You are preparing to exit the highway/freeway.
  • You plan to turn at an upcoming intersection that requires you to be in another lane.
  • You are approaching hazards or obstacles in your lane.

Making a safe and courteous lane change requires planning and awareness: Scan the road ahead and plan in advance. Notice what other drivers are doing. Watch out for: pedestrians about to step onto the road, other vehicles reducing speed, and drivers about to merge across your lane. Brake lights in front of you could indicate trouble ahead. Cars beginning to slow down will usually hit their brakes giving a vital warning to alert drivers behind. LEARN MORE

When changing lanes, use this simple five-step process recommended by our insurance carrier, Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP):

  1. Use a four-second following distance (under good driving conditions)
  2. Signal 100 feet in advance
  3. Check your rearview mirror; lean forward to check side mirrors
  4. Look over your shoulder to ensure the lane you are merging in to is clear
  5. If it is safe, change lanes and re-establish your cushion of safety

It’s never worth weaving in and out of lanes or making an unsafe lane change to save a few seconds. Thanks for keeping safety first.

aggressive driving

Aggressive driving

The term “aggressive driving” covers a range of unsafe driving behavior. Speeding, tailgating or passing on the shoulder, weaving in and out of traffic, refusing to allow others to pass or merge, running red lights, flashing high beams, or any combination of these activities generally are considered aggressive driving.

As a Pierce Transit vanpool driver, it is essential that you refrain from driving aggressively. But what if you witness someone else driving aggressively?

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Give the aggressive driver plenty of space
  • Be patient and remain calm
  • Ignore gestures and refuse to return them
  • Never underestimate a driver’s capacity for anger

Aggressive driving – AAA video: HERE

Update your contact info online

You can now easily update your address, phone number, or email address with Pierce Transit! Just follow the link below, scroll to the bottom of the page, select your vanpool coordinator, and provide your updated information. Hit submit and that’s it! We will update our records with your new info. Learn More.

© 2017 Pierce Transit, All Rights Reserved. Site Design and Development by SiteCrafting.

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.


  • 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).


  • 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.


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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