By Airman 1st Class Scott Poe
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Commuting to and from Little Rock Air Force base every day can be a big burden on one’s budget depending on how far they travel each day. For example, based on the American Automobile Association estimates, the cost of owning a car can exceed $10,000 per year for a daily commute of 50 miles round trip per workday.
The vanpooling program is an alternative that allows 5 to 15 riders in a local area to share a ride to work. Instead of fighting traffic and stressing, as a passenger you can read, sleep, play on your phone, or do your hair and listen to music while on your way to and from work.
Vanpooling not only saves money, it also ensures fewer vehicles are clogging the roads and less pollution from emissions to harm the environment.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order which implemented a transit benefit for federal employees — both military and civilian.
The transit benefit provides a tax-free monthly payment of up to $130 via a debit card to an approved transportation provider. The only out-of-pocket expense for federal employees is an annual fee of $16.
Some advantages of the vanpool program are:
• Saving money on gas and maintenance
• The only out of pocket expense will be a $16 annual program fee to the Arkansas State Employee Benefit Corporation
• Less pollution
• Fewer vehicles on the road
• Making friends
Contractors can also participate in the vanpool but are not eligible for the transit benefit. Rather, they will be billed directly by the transportation provider.
For further details or to sign up, contact either Lynn Shaw at (501) 987-8135 or Danny Mills at (501) 987-3510.