Rising gas prices prompt creation of ninth area vanpool route

Soaring gasoline prices are driving more motorists in the region to vanpooling.

The ninth area vanpool arranged by Central Indiana Commuter Services started this month between Franklin and the Defense Finance & Accounting Services facility in Indianapolis.

The 60-mile round trip begins with a driver and a passenger at the National Guard Armory in Franklin. Other riders board in Greenwood and Southport.

The new route will take 11 cars off the road, CICS said.

With gas prices around $4 a gallon, a 60-mile daily round trip commute costs about $200 a month. Hidden costs such as vehicle wear-and-tear, maintenance and insurance make that more like $700 a month, said CICS’ vanpool manager, Lori Kaplan.

Vanpooling runs between $100 and $200 a month, she said.

CICS’ other vanpools originate from Bloomington, Cloverdale, Greenfield, Plainfield and Westfield, and travel to various workplaces in Indiana.

To help further assure potential vanpoolers, CICS has been offering its registered commuters a free cab ride home for emergencies such as sick children or for those who unexpectedly have to work late.

CICS receives federal funds through the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority. CIRTA is attempting to establish a regional transit system that also includes rail and bus rapid transit.

A bill that would allow voters in Marion and Hamilton counties to vote on whether to allow taxing authority to pay for such a system failed to emerge from the Indiana General Assembly. Transit supporters vow to try again in the next session.

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