Vanpool commuter service expands, gets cars off the road

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This ride isn’t as “urban-chic” as commuter rail or bus rapid transit, which mass transit proponents say world-class cities must have.

Still, Central Indiana Commuter Services, or CICS, notes that its vanpool service is growing. That’s not insignificant in this mass-transit-challenged region.

The latest is a vanpool, launched this month, that runs between the Walmart parking lot in Carmel and Delphi Automotive, in Kokomo.

Nearly a dozen people have signed up for the route, which gets as many cars off the road. CICS is a federally funded service of the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority and encourages car- and vanpooling, bus riding and bicycling.

CICS also has eight other vanpools in operation that originate from Anderson, Bloomington, Cloverdale, Fishers, Greenfield, Plainfield and Westfield.

CICS provides through a contractor vans ranging from seven to 15 passengers. The cost to use a smaller van starts at $965 a month, with costs split among riders. One person volunteers to drive.

“Vanpools are a great option for people who want to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and use their commuting time to read or to do things other than drive,” said Lori Kaplan, CICS’ vanpool manager.

CICS helps match would-be car- and vanpoolers through its website,•

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