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Inside the Ride

Make your commute a treat, not a trick


When you think of the month of October, what first comes to mind?

Most likely, cooler weather, fall leaves and Halloween costumes.

Beyond the popular flavor of pumpkin and orange hues of harvest is an opportunity to save some green and quiet the monster called commute stress.

Consider participating in Rideshare Month. It’s not that scary and offers a way to try carpooling, vanpooling, bus or light rail, teleworking, biking or walking to save money, reduce pollution and gain more “me” time.

If the thought of carpooling or vanpooling with someone you don’t know sends a shiver down your spine, then read on. Learn how people who share the ride turned their daily commute from a trick to a treat.

To the moon and back

More than 25 years ago, Steve Kloeckl founded a vanpool group through Valley Metro.

“I started the vanpool primarily for the economic reasons,” said Kloeckl. “It’s also nice to know you’re helping reduce traffic congestion and benefiting the environment.”

Since then, he and his Circle K colleagues have vanpooled to save money and add time back into their lives. It has another priceless benefit: long-lasting friendships.
Circle K Vanpool Group

“You get to know your co-workers outside of the work environment,” he said.

This vanpool group, one of nearly 400 in the Valley, has a unique connection. When it first started in 1990, some of the riders would bring their children on the van and drop them off at the daycare center at work. Years later, the kids are grown and in college, with friendships forged for a lifetime.

“Even though members of the vanpool have changed over the years, there have been some very special friendships that were made and many of us still stay in touch,” said Kloeckl.

The group travels 60 miles roundtrip each day, saving on stress, money and maintenance on their vehicles. Over the past two and a-half decades, they have saved approximately 4.5 million miles vanpooling, which is equal to 19 roundtrip commutes to the moon.

Ridesharing relationships

“More people have entered my life through ridesharing,” revealed commuter Sue Bochenek, who has been using public transit for more than two decades. “I’ve gotten to learn more about life through people’s situations and I’ve been helpful to them. It’s a win-win!”

Bochenek is referring to carpooling. It’s how she tackles the daily commute.

“I prefer to be the passenger. It takes the stress out of driving, gives me company and saves money,” admitted Bochenek. “If you ride with someone, you have company. It’s not quite as boring.”

Signing up for a carpool partner through ShareTheRide.com is how Sue met David Malleo three years ago. After carpooling and building a foundation of friendship over the course of eight months, they started dating.

“We had many hours to talk, so that’s how we developed a friendship,” she said. “When people ask how we met, we tell them through Valley Metro’s ShareTheRide program. They always think that’s pretty neat.”

Together, they carpool 33 miles roundtrip, five days week. In 2015, they saved $549 in vehicle operating costs by saving 8,712 miles traveled and 1,584 pounds in greenhouse gases.

Bochenek also wants to reassure anyone who feels uneasy about finding a carpool partner. When you sign up with ShareTheRide.com, all of your personal information is kept confidential.

Evolve your commute

Much like the fun of Halloween in October, your commute can be enjoyable every day of the year. And just like Kloeckl and Bochenek have done, you could replace commuting stress with calm in addition to saving money, reducing pollution and making new friends. How’s that for a treat?

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