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Vanpool partnership saves teachers plenty of gas every school year, helps build friendship bonds as well

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- Five teachers carpool together to Three Rivers School in Sunriver daily, as part of Cascade East Transit's and Commute Options' vanpool program.

For the past year, teacher Honza Vrbata has been picking up and dropping off four fellow teachers every day.

"It's really fun to commute with coworkers, because we can, you know -- we share stories, we laugh together, we sometimes (share) challenges. We try to help each other just share and listen to each other," Vrbata said.

The program is part of Oregon's transportation improvement fund and pays for the teachers' transportation. On average, they're saving about 32,000 miles a school year.

CET says they've seen a major increase in interest and demand from teachers since the program began.

"We've more than doubled the number of vehicles out on the road," said strategy and program manager Eric Lint. "And vanpools are carpools, but they're carpools as a part of public transit. So we're seeing a lot of interest from certain employers that are helping facilitate their employees getting into these programs, so that they can get to work easier and save some money,"

And it's not just teachers using it. The U.S. Forest Service has also used the vanpool program for workers to travel, from Prineville to Gilchrist.

"They go straight to your house, to wherever you're working. And it's one of those solutions that helps bring public transit. That's not just buses," Lint said.

Honza says he's excited to continue commuting for the rest of the school year with a newfound group of friends.

To apply for a vanpool group, you can go to the Cascades East Transit website.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Isabella Warren

Isabella Warren is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Isabellahere.


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