Photo of Ford Transit 15 passenger vanpool vehicle

The Florida Department of Transportation continues to provide much-needed vanpool services to commuters in Florida, especially those living in rural communities.

FDOT has identified three (3) areas of the State of Florida as “Areas of Critical Concern.” These three areas include twenty-nine (29) of Florida’s thirty-two (32) rural counties:

  1. Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Liberty Counties (and a small area within Walton County)
  2. Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Monroe (added in 2019) and Okeechobee Counties (and small areas within Collier and Palm Beach Counties)
  3. Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor and Union Counties
Photo of Dodge Durango 7 passenger vanpool vehicle

These three “Areas of Critical Concern” have similar economic conditions:

  • Low per capita income
  • Low per capita taxable values
  • High unemployment
  • High underemployment
  • Low weekly earned wages compared to the state averages
  • Low housing values compared to the state average
  • High percentages of the population receiving public assistance
  • High poverty levels compared to the state average
  • A lack of year-round stable employment opportunities

Jobs might be available in adjoining counties or in these three areas where traditional public transportation is not available or is considered inadequate to meet the needs of the population. COMMUTE with Enterprise services can address some of these needs in a safe and efficient manner. These areas encompass a large geographic area of the State of Florida. Accordingly, Non-Urbanized Area Formula Funding (U.S.C. Section 5311) has been obtained by FDOT to financially support commuter vanpools that are formed and placed into service under this program.

A public/private partnership between FDOT & COMMUTE with Enterprise  has been formed to assist these areas of concern.

Photo of Chrysler Pacifica 7-passenger vanpool vehicle

COMMUTE with Enterprise a private provider of public transportation services, has entered into a joint participation agreement with FDOT to provide turn-key commuter vanpool services within the counties of critical concern. COMMUTE with Enterprise will serve as the Florida Department of Transportation’s partner in this endeavor. COMMUTE with Enterprise is highly experienced in working with public and private stakeholders. Many local and regional agencies contract with them to supply the vanpool service and use federal funds to reduce the price paid by commuters.

Working in partnership with the FDOT Commuter Assistance Organizations and State of Florida Economic Development Organizations, COMMUTE with Enterprise will provide and make available well-appointed commuter highway vehicles that seat 7 to 15 persons, comprehensive auto liability insurance coverage, and a bumper-to-bumper preventive maintenance and repair package. Services are provided on a month-to-month contract basis and require no long-term commitment. The end result will be a comprehensive vanpool program that serves the needs of the constituents of rural Florida who are in need of affordable transportation services to get to and from work. Innovative use of the (FTA) Federal Transit Administration financing policies, specifically the implementation of the FTA Capital Cost of Contracting Policy, enables public agencies and COMMUTE with Enterprise to make vanpooling available to more communities at attractive rates which encourage commuters to leave their cars at home and vanpool to work.

How will this arrangement work?

COMMUTE with Enterprise will provide up to 40 vehicles for commuting purposes. FDOT will pay towards the monthly rent and fuel at 50% to offset costs for the vanpoolers for completing monthly trip recording. If you are interested in learning more about this program please go to commutewithenterprise.com and complete an inquiry so a sales executive can reach out to you.

Photo of Ford Transit configurable as 8, 10, 12 or 15 passenger vanpool vehicle

Definition of a Commuter Vanpool: A commuter vanpool is understood to operate as follows:

  • A group of individuals voluntarily participating in a ridesharing arrangement in a van with a seating capacity of not less than 7 (including the driver) and not greater than 15 (including the driver).
  • Driver/Coordinators and Alternate/Backup drivers are themselves commuters who are volunteers receiving no compensation for their efforts. Vanpool fare and fuel are split amongst the ridership.
  • Vanpool drivers use the van to pickup, transport and deliver the other vanpool passengers to and from their residences (or a common staging area) and their places of employment.
  • The use of the van will not be construed as being engaged in transportation as a business.
  • The vehicle may be used for personal use as defined in the driver agreement, but may not be used to carry passengers for hire outside the scope of the regular home-to-work commute.
Photo of Chrysler Pacifica 7-passenger vanpool vehicle

For additional information about the State of Florida Rural Vanpool Program, contact your local commuter assistance program.  Click on Find A Ride section for the area of Florida that you live in http://www.commuterservices.com/