In August 2005 statewide vanpool ridership stood at nearly 15,000 daily riders. This is a 20 percent increase over the level of two years ago. Also at the end of August 2005, there were 1,789 vans in operation, an increase of 14 percent over two years ago.
Vanpool operators have told WSDOT they expect ridership returns for September and October to be higher still, setting new records. In 2003, the Washington State Legislature created a vanpool grant program to increase the use of vanpooling by the state’s commuters. The program was funded at $4 million for the 2003–2005 biennium and at $5 million for the 2005–2007 biennium. The funds are for public transit agencies and can be used only for the capital costs of putting new vans on the road and for incentives for employers to increase employee vanpool use.
WSDOT and transit agencies created the Vanpool Investment Program to guide vanpool program development and manage vanpool grants. The program exceeded its goal of increasing vanpooling by ten percent over the 2003–2005 biennium. In the first months of the new biennium, vanpooling has continued to grow.