Unreliable public transportation makes getting to work particularly difficult for many Tulsa, Okla., residents. But local businesses are helping to solve the problem with participation in the city’s first vanpool project, a collaborative effort to connect workers to companies that have job opportunities.
While new to Tulsa, vanpooling is a common method of transportation in other areas. The city has partnered with vRide, the nation’s largest provider of vanpooling services. vRide puts more than 7,500 vans on the road every day.
Typically, riders share the total monthly operating costs — gas and use of the van — with payment made through payroll deductions. Companies may also opt to pay for the van and fuel on behalf of riders.
One participant drives the 15-passenger van, picks up the others and drives them to work. At the end of the shift, the driver does the reverse. The driver rides for free and may use the van for personal use. vRide covers all liability and there are potential tax advantages for participating businesses.
The first vanpool ride for employees of S & R Compression of Tulsa took place in late June, giving everyone something to cheer about. “Having our first van on the road is an amazing accomplishment for me,” said Crystal Scarborough, Business Services Coordinator for Workforce Tulsa One-Stop Centers, operated by Grant Associates. Ms. Scarborough met with area businesses to explain the program and gain buy-in.
“There is no doubt that the vanpooling project is the solution to closing the transportation gap in our communities,” she said.
The project is a collaboration between the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Workforce Tulsa, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, The Center for Employment Opportunities, Women in Recovery, Madison Strategies, and the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech Skills Centers. The project is funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, United Way and federal and local transportation funding.
For more information, contact Crystal Scarborough in Tulsa at 918.796.1234 or at