by Taylor Hajek
In an effort to Be Spartan Green, employees at the Physical Plant are finding more efficient ways to get to work. Ride-sharing to and from work has become a normal part of the work week for several Phys Planters.
Mark Lutkenhoff, asbestos abatement planner/inspector analyst II and Grand Rapids resident, has found a way to beat the costly and exhaustive drive through vanpooling.
A vanpool consists of a group of commuters who live and work near each other who chose to drive together each day in a communal van. When Lutkenhoff began working for the Physical Plant four years ago, he was involved in a carpool, but soon changed to vanpooling with the MichiVan program.
Lutkenhoff said he was immediately interested when he heard about the MichiVan program through the Capital Area Transit Authority. With MichiVan, commuters pay a monthly fee to drive a sponsored vehicle. Depending on the amount of people in the vanpool, the price varies.
Don Mintz, planner/inspector/analyst II, heard about MichiVan through Lutkenhoff. “Joining the van made the commute more doable,” said Mintz who, before joining MichiVan, was staying in Lansing during the week and traveling back home to Kalamazoo for the weekends.
There are currently eight people in Lutkenhoff's and Mintz’s van, and seats are still available in the 15-seater. Aside from a monthly van cost, the people involved in the vanpool all contribute money once a month that goes on the gas card specifically for the commute.
“We are trying to reach out to the 15,000 faculty and staff here to let them know that this program exists and, if you’re coming from the west side of the state, then this is an option to join our van,” said Lutkenhoff.
Another way people are avoiding the hassle and costs of driving long distances is through carpooling. Scott Friend, records planner/inspector/analyst II, found his carpool through CATA Clean Commute. Friend used to drive to work from Jackson until gas prices went up.
“I went to the Clean Commute site, put my name on a list, and they put me in contact with people in my area looking to carpool. It’s been the same four of us for the past three years,” said Friend.
In Friend’s carpool, the participants alternate driving each week, with the driver paying for the gas of that week. Friend sees a significant amount of savings on vehicle wear, gas money and gas emissions. “We have three cars off of the road that would normally be on the road,” said Friend on the benefits of emitting less pollution through gas usage.
To learn more about the MichiVan and CATA Clean Commute ride-sharing options, click on the links provided above.