Vanpooling has been a part of my life for over the last 12 years. I first started using vanpools in 1994 while as an undergraduate student at UCLA. At that time, I was living in on-campus and going home every weekend to my parents who were located 30 miles east of UCLA. As all Southern Californians know, traffic in Los Angeles is known to be excruciatingly bad on Friday afternoons. The options were to either drive and brave the commute alone, or ride the bus with the hassles of transferring. Thank goodness that vanpooling turned out to be a viable third option. After learning about the financial, environmental and life quality benefits of vanpooling, I immediately signed up, first as a part-time passenger, and eventually transitioned to full-time during my tenure as a Ph.D. student.
In 2002, I started working at The Aerospace Corporation. Aerospace and the surrounding defense companies heavily promoted vanpooling, and I immediately took advantage of the commuting option. For two-and-a-half years, I rode and occasionally drove a VPSI van from South Pasadena to El Segundo. One of the best things about this vanpool was the fact that our van was able to take advantage of the HOV lane on both the 105 and 110 freeways, which trimmed off a lot of time in the commute to and from work.
In 2004, my wife and I left Southern California and moved to New England. After living in Massachusetts for a year, we purchased a house in Bedford, New Hampshire. However, our jobs were still in Cambridge, Massachusetts, some 60 miles away. We needed to find a cost-effective and intelligent way of getting to work. Again, vanpooling made sense. I contacted VPSI and arranged to start a new van, this time serving as the primary driver. Who knew that all my years in vanpooling would one day prepare me to run my own van!