Here’s an interesting question posed by the Transportation Issues Daily blog: are vanpools hurting bus transit but benefitting commuters? The Washington Policy Center (WPC) thinks that the case for Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) in southeastern Washington state.
The WPC says that bus ridership there has fallen over the last decade, while vanpool ridership has doubled. The good news though- vanpools are a lot less expensive to operate. Here’s the blog post.
Vanpools are a lot less to operate and they provide service to places and people not served by a regular bus service, but as regular bus service is cut by less income from sales tax, vanpools become a good solution to the budget cuts.
They ARE a good substitute for when public transit doesn't work for someone, and what's great about them is that they are mostly paid for by the people who use them, so it doesn't pose another drain of funds to the transit provider. Last I checked, the local STA vans were in huge demand, so that's the only drawback around here; there's not enough vans to go around.