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Posted Friday, February 22, 2008
Pittsboro, NC - This is my periodic plug for the Pittsboro van pool to UNC. The TTA vans are clean and roomy. You may have seen one in the Food Lion parking lot from time to time.
On weekdays, riders leave the Pittsboro Baptist Church parking lot at 6:45 a.m. and on the other end of the day we leave the university and hospital area 4:30-ish.
One rider gets on midway between Pittsboro and UNC on 15/501 and then once on UNC, two people hop out at two spots on the Hospital/Campus area before the driver parks the van. I am the second person to hop out. I have a short walk from where the van lets me off (less than 5 minutes) and I am at my job at 7:15 am or so.
I leave my job at 4:30 to go wait for the van. I wait about 1-2 minutes. I get back to Town about 5:10 or 5:15 p.m. I guess at the latest.
Since I've been riding this year, the van has cost anywhere between $62 and $67 per month full cost. It depends on how many people are on the roster in a given month. The driver collects the money ahead and is responsible for turning it in, and keeping the van fueled up. The driver gets a small amount of personal miles per month and also rides free. Back up drivers are always appreciated, but its not in any way, shape or form a requirement. For example - I am not a back up driver!
The Commuter Alternative program:
Permanent employees of the Hospital or University who do NOT also pay for a parking permit on campus (for days when they choose to drive on their own),may get a $20 discount on each months van pool costs by joining "CAP", the Commuter Alternative Program. The CAP program is free. For each vanpooler that joins CAP, UNC sends the van pool agency a $20 a month subsidy.
What else do CAP participants get? They also get discounts at some Pittsboro and Carrboro business establishments and they become eligible for giveaways donated by these same merchants. They get 12 passes to allow them to park on campus for free once a month in a certain lot if they need to take their car to work for whatever reason. They also get a discount on the campus visitors parking deck for the same reason. The average Joe or Josephina pays $1.25 per hour to park in the brand new Ramshead deck but the CAP people pay $0.75 per hour. They also get a discount on the annual fee for Zipcar, the UNC carsharing program.
I've calculated that I definitely save money by being in the van pool EVEN if I don't ride the van more often than I do. So not having regular work hours is no longer an excuse for me.
Anyone who wants to try out the Pittsboro van can do so for free one day. Just let the driver know ahead.
Also, anyone who wants to take advantage of it just every once in a while can ride up to two days a week for $2 each way, just as long as the van has room. Right now, we do.
It's a real nice group of hard working folks. We can be quiet, or not, listen to music, nap, work on the laptop, stare out the window at the sunrise or sunset - whatever - as we zoom zoom zoom.
So that's the plug. If interested, contact Kathleen Dulaney at Kathleen_Dulaney@med.unc.edu or 843-7163 for more information.
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