As part of their mutual ambition to reduce congestion by taking individual cars off the road network, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is partnering with Commute with Enterprise to launch the new ‘NMGo!’ vanpooling program.
The new ‘NMGo!’ scheme will provide commuters traveling to and from the cities of Farmington, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Las Cruces, with a vanpooling option. NMGo! expands and enhances regional transportation options by providing a flexible public transportation alternative to commuters who are not currently served by fixed route service, those working outside of fixed route schedules or those with longer commutes, typically exceeding 20 miles (32km) each way. The program, which currently operates 36 routes with more than 250 passengers per day, has already taken more than 200 cars off the road. It aims to grow to more than 650 passengers per day by the end of the year. NMGo! also helps NMDOT collect data about commuting patterns that will help improve planning decisions on the state’s transportation infrastructure and enhance local and regional mobility.
Commuters interested in the program can join an existing group or create a new one. People traveling to and from the four participating cities can obtain a 33% discount on the monthly rate, while also helping increase federal transit formula grant funds in these areas to potentially make the program financially self-sustaining. Companies looking to enhance transportation options for their employees can also partner with Enterprise to offer the program as an employee benefit. Commuters do not need to work at a participating company to be a part of the NMGo! program. Participants can choose a qualifying vanpool vehicle from a selection of makes and models that includes crossovers, SUVs, minivans and large passenger vans, and can also upgrade their selection with optional features such as satellite radio, WiFi, and power ports for individual seats. Vanpoolers also have access to Enterprise’s Guaranteed Ride Home program, which ensures they can leave work at unscheduled times worry-free.
“Providing people with an affordable and convenient alternative to driving themselves to work every day is one of the ways we’re working to reduce congestion and carbon emissions,” said NMDOT’s cabinet secretary, Michael Sandoval. “But what’s really special about this program is that, in addition to sustainable transportation, participants get to experience other benefits of vanpooling, including significant cost savings, reduced stress and more free time.”
NMDOT’s transit and rail director, David Harris, noted, “The average commuting cost for vanpoolers is 50% less than the cost for commuters who travel alone in their vehicles. That’s a huge difference that can really make an impact month after month. In addition to cost savings, we hear time and again how much participants enjoy using their commuting time to be more productive or to just sit back and relax.”
Ben Dowell, director of Commute with Enterprise in New Mexico, commented, “You would be hard-pressed to find a more affordable and convenient alternative for getting employees to and from work every day, all while reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions. It’s also a great option for commuters who lack access to traditional public transportation services.”