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Fast Lane

College offers new options to ease commute

Dartmouth employees struggling with high gas prices will get some relief thanks to several new options offered by the College. Beginning fall term, Dartmouth will be home to New Hampshire's first two Zipcars. A vanpool pilot program began this month, in which Dartmouth provides a leased van and riders share the cost of gas. Additionally, showers at Alumni Gym are now available to employees who bike to work.

Some members of the College's pilot vanpool, which runs from St. Johnsbury, Vt., to Hanover. Vanpools are one component of an initiative to offer more commuting options to employees. From left: Bob Ash, John Biele, Rick Sterling, Nick Thurston, Maurice Anderson, Bobby Ignjatovic, and Jeff Baribeau. "It's working great," says Ignjatovic, who drives the van. "We like riding together, getting to shoot the breeze or read the newspaper in the morning." All are employed with Facilities Operations and Management. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Zipcar, a membership-based car-sharing company that provides auto rentals by the hour or day, will station two cars on campus. The cars will be available, for a modest registration fee, not only to Dartmouth students and employees but to the Hanover community as well. Initially, for insurance reasons, only drivers 21 and older will be able to use the cars. Information on the Zipcar program and membership will be distributed in September."We hope that students will opt to use Zipcars rather than bring a car to campus, and that employees will leave their cars at home and use Zipcars for errands and short work trips," says Associate Provost Mary Gorman.

Zipcars will be available on campus starting fall 2008. (Photo courtesy Zipcar Inc.)

The College expects the Zipcars to be in place sometime during fall term.Dartmouth hopes to launch up to four vanpools to employees who want to share a ride to work. The first pilot vanpool has started with 10 members commuting along the I-91 corridor, originating in St. Johnsbury, Vt. The College provides a leased, insured van and covers maintenance costs; riders share the cost of fuel, and the driver and backup driver receive $30 per month from the College's Transportation Demand Management funds.

Bobby Ignjatovic, a paint shop employee, is part of the first group to take advantage of the vanpool program. "The College really stepped up to the plate," he says, "and it's surprising to see how fast things fell into place. We're conserving gas, we're consolidating the number of vehicles coming into Hanover-so far, so good."

Mark Heels, a user support technician in Dartmouth's repair shop who plans to assemble another vanpool traveling to and from Bradford, Vt., says, "The initiative is part of the new economic and environmental paradigm: ride sharing, multiple-occupancy vehicles, and mass transportation. I'm pleased that Dartmouth is taking the lead in developing efficient, green, and inexpensive modes of transportation for its employees." Employees interested in joining this vanpool may contact Heels directly.

Bike commuters (and their co-workers) can breathe a little easier knowing that a hot shower is available to them when they arrive on campus. For cyclists, the College will cover the cost of a shower pass in Alumni Gymnasium on East Wheelock Street.

The changes reflect Dartmouth's ongoing efforts to ease the commute for its employees. More than 150 made suggestions at a June 25 meeting about commuting issues. The new measures complement existing programs in support of commuters, which include parking permit buyouts, reimbursement for use of public transportation, and more than $500,000 spent annually to subsidize local and regional public transportation.



Three Campus Commuting Initiatives


Vanpool Program

College provides van, riders share cost of gas. The first trial vanpool route leaves St. Johnsbury, Vt., at 6 a.m. and arrives in Hanover at 7:10, with stops in Wells River and Bradford, Vt. Van departs Hanover in the afternoon at 4:00.


Available fall 2008

Alumni Gym Shower Passes

For employees who bike to work:


Parking and Transportation Services • 646-2204

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08