Vanpools Traveling Over the Narrows Bridge are 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:
• Website: PierceTransit.org/Vanpool
• Phone: 253.581.8000 (option 3, then option 2)
• Email: email@example.com
For assistance finding fellow vanpool riders, visit Rideshareonline.com.