California Vanpool Authority
The California Vanpool Authority (also known as CalVans) is a Joint Powers Authority with member agencies throughout Central California. CalVans original emerged as a program of the Kings Area Rural Transit system to fill a gap created when Caltrans ceased operating vanpools to state facilities. Since 2001, CalVans has operated vanpool service, beginning with a single van serving county employees and expanding to almost 400 routes serving 23 counties statewide. The program (now called CalVans) has been able to expand transit service to residents of low population density areas, connecting workers to jobs in ways that fixed-route transit systems could not.
The Authority is sponsored by the Kings County Area Public Transit Agency.
The Authority receives bulk discounts on vans. Find leasee/operator who can collect money from passengers and administer the vanpool.
Having a leasee/operator who is responsible for making lease payments, acquiring new passengers, and managing day-to-day operations reduces labor costs that might be incurred by a centrally-administered for profit vanpool program.
The Authority offers two service products: Agricultural Industries Transportation Services (AITS)for agricultural workers and CalVans for non-agricultural workers.
AITS strives to be a low-cost alternative to private vans linking residences with agricultural jobs. The Authority bills for AITS services weekly as agricultural workers are paid weekly. The AITS program was originally started using JARC grant funds after a 2002 accident with a private van killed 13 agricultural workers Cite error: Closing
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<ref> tag. The program has brought new operating funds to communities that CalVans serves, and have been key in the Authority's expansion. KART and other agencies have used these funds to expand vanpool service and to cover operating fund deficiencies for fixed route transit.
According to Hughes, CalVans model allows it to accept leasee/operators who would be declined by for-profit vanpool companies due to poor credit. Because of this, he sees the service as providing a lifeline to individuals who would not otherwise be able to access jobs. Additionally, Hughes said that a leasee who looses a job or is unable to maintain payments can return a van if needed because the van can be reassigned.
Portions of the content appearing on this page are based on an interview between Juan Matute and Ron Hughes on September 9, 2011.