UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 05 | Mar.
Vanpools ease campus commute
Fleet comprises nearly one-third of vanpools in the GVRD
by Andy Poon staff writer
Connie Fabro knows a good travel deal when she sees one.
For the better part of the past decade, she has managed travel contracts for
the university as the travel manager in the Purchasing Dept. so
it's no surprise
that she commutes each day to the university from her home in White Rock via
"There are a whole bunch of us going to one place for work and with so many
cars on the road, it's silly that we are each in our own cars driving to the
same place," she says. "And then you add the expense of parking and such in
driving your own car and it makes sense to vanpool."
Fabro travels in an eight-person vanpool arranged through the Jack Bell
Foundation, a partner of the university's Trek Program Centre. When it isn't
her turn to do the driving, she typically spends the 50-minute morning commute
reading or resting.
"It's pretty quiet in the mornings. People seem to want very little
conversation then," she laughs. "And it's nice to have someone else do the
driving; it takes the tension away."
Gord Lovegrove, director of Transportation Planning, says that the university's
vanpool has grown to 26 vehicles from 16 in November 1997 -- an increase of more
than 50 per cent.
The campus vanpool comprises nearly one-third of the Greater Vancouver Regional
District's vanpool fleet. The Jack Bell Foundation partnered with UBC to
form one of the first vanpool programs in the GVRD in 1992.
"It's a good return for investment for transportation for UBC," says
Lovegrove. "It's reducing congestion and air pollution and getting people to
campus in a less stressed way. It helps UBC create a more livable
community and helps to attract and retain faculty, students and
staff -- all important factors in Trek 2000, the university's vision
Lovegrove says that as a result of the university's strategic transportation
plan -- officially approved by UBC's Board of Governors in
November 1999 -- significant progress has been made towards meeting the
university's goal to decrease the number of single occupant vehicles travelling
to campus by 20 per cent in the next few years.
"There's an increase of 23 per cent more transit service to campus," says
Lovegrove. "That's 21 per cent more riders or 23,000 people taking transit to
and from UBC each day."
Additional transit achievements include more than 500 staff discount
transit passes issued and more than 5,000 participants in the student Fastrax
program. The program allows one-zone transit passes to be extended through
While all of this may mean more bus riders, Lovegrove expects that the shift in
class start times this fall will help relieve commuters of crowded buses during
the morning rush.
Lovegrove concedes that the proposed U-Trek card -- a transit pass with bundled
car, vanpool parking and bike benefits -- will not likely be ready this year, as
the university, Translink and the AMS have yet to resolve the issue of
price for the cards.
"But the U-Trek card is not dead," Lovegrove says. He points out that a student
referendum on the issue may still be held sometime in the next
For Fabro, there has been an additional benefit to sharing a vehicle with other
UBC faculty and staff members twice a day.
"We've got a good mix of people in the van from all over the campus," she says.
"It helps to be able to share ideas from around the university and it adds to
my own understanding of how others look at issues on campus."
For more information on how to set up a van or carpool and details of the
university's strategic transportation plan, visit www.trek.ubc.ca.