What does Lowcountry Go offer?
Lowcountry Go connects real people with real commuter solutions with an overall goal of reducing trafﬁc congestion and improving quality of life in the Tri-County region. Lowcountry Go program offers a regional ride-matching services while also working with regional stakeholders and employers to implement other options such as work ﬂextime, staggered shifts, and commuter incentives. The vanpool program accommodates employees of all industries commuting from common areas of the region.
What is the purpose of this program?
Lowcountry Go promotes the implementation of new programs throughout the Tri-County region in efforts to reduce trafﬁc congestion and manage future trafﬁc volume. Rapid population and economic growth coupled with limited ﬁnancial resources requires new ideas and programs to improve trafﬁc and accommodate future growth. We recognize that building our way out of trafﬁc congestion isn’t an option.
What is the Vanpool Program?
Lowcountry Go has its own fleet of vehicles and staff manages, promotes, and facilitates the program to ensure efficient use of the fleet. This manual describes the policies and procedures by which the Lowcountry Go administers the vanpool service. The Lowcountry Go Vanpool Program provides eligible groups of four or more commuters with a 7 or 15 passenger van to use to commute to and from work. Vanpooling is an easy, convenient, and inexpensive service that connects people throughout the Tricounty area who are interest in alternative transportation options. The month-to-month lease includes the vehicle, insurance, maintenance, gas, and an Emergency Ride Home.
How does Vanpooling work?
It is a group of individuals decide to share the ride to work. A primary driver and at least one backup driver are identified from the group. One individual can be the primary driver or all the individuals who qualify to drive can rotate – it’s entirely up to your group.
You need at least five people, including yourself, to start a Vanpool. The more people in your group, the lower your fare will be. To enlist riders, put up signs around your building and talk with co-workers and friends; we will be glad to assist you as well. After you have found enough riders for a group, call us and we will help you through the following steps:
- Map out a route
- Decide on pick-up and drop-off points
- Determine a schedule
- Choose someone to coordinate the Vanpool
- Choose at least two people to drive. Driver applicants must meet specific requirements. We will screen and approve driver applications.
- Have all participants complete and sign a rider agreement
What are the requirements for the Lowcountry Go Vanpool Program?
- All Lowcountry Go Vanpools must originate or conclude their trip in the Tri-County area.
- Vanpools must travel 10+ round trip daily miles
- *Vanpool groups may operate vans that travel fewer than 10 round trip daily miles but will be charged at the 10 round trip daily miles rate. For more information, contact Vanpool.
- There must be at least one designated primary driver and one back-up driver
- Drivers must complete a Driver Authorization for Motor Vehicle Report and be approved
- Drivers must be at least 25 years old and have had their license at least three (3) years.
- The primary driver or employer must sign the lease agreement on behalf of the vanpool group
- A one-time refundable security deposit of the first month’s lease amount and the 1st months lease amount must be provided during registration
- Before the van is delivered you must pay the 1st month’s lease amount
- Groups must submit a monthly mileage log
What if I have an out of state license?
If you have a non-SC license, you will be required to obtain your own Motor Vehicle Records and submit them with the drivers application.
Who can ride in the van?
Any commuter who is over 18 (if under 18, need a guardian signature) and has registered with Ridelowgo.com can reserve a seat in a vanpool vehicle.
What responsibilities do the vanpool drivers have?
Vanpool drivers are responsible for:
- The daily operations of the van. This includes adhering to BCDCOG’s basic rules of the road to ensure the safety of the vanpool group and other commuters.
- Basic maintenance of the van such as car washes, oil changes, and annual vehicle inspections. BCDCOG will cover the cost of any maintenance related items such as oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Should there be major maintenance issues, BCDCOG’s Vanpool Coordinator will provide the group with a back-up vehicle to be used temporarily.
- Collecting monthly fares from riders and submitting payment to BCDCOG.
- Completing and submitting Monthly Mileage and Expense Reports (PDF).
- Serving as the liaison with BCDCOG’s Vanpool Coordinator.
What kind of vehicles does BCDCOG lease?
7 Passenger Dodge Caravans
15 Passenger Ford Transit Vans
How is the vanpool fare calculated and much does it cost to run a vanpool?
See the fare structure (document to be inserted)
The monthly fares are based on the number of round-trip miles traveled each day, the number of days worked based on your shift, and the number of riders in the van.
For example, a group of 10 traveling 70 miles a day, working 4×10’s would be responsible to collect $645.30 a month, or $64.53 per person. That breaks down to less than $0.06 per person per mile a month for this commute.
The fare is calculated by taking the total monthly cost of the van (see pricing chart). Each passenger’s individual cost will depend on the number of people in the van.
Can I join an existing vanpool?
Yes you can!
If you see a vanpool in operation, contact us with the van number, we can connect you with the group
Or let us find you one by telling us where you want to start, where you want to go, and when
How do I get started?
Explore around our website to learn about all of the sustainable transportation modes available to you. When you’re ready to improve your commute, visit our web-based or mobile application that serves as a comprehensive multimodal trip planner or contact the BCDCOG Vanpool Coordinator to discuss options. Lowcountry Go connects commuters in our region with real commuting solutions. You can find commuting partners to vanpool with based on parameters such as origin/destination, time/date, and destinations. The app also provides improved commuting choices other than single occupancy vehicles, such as public transit, and biking and walking. Visit www.ridelowgo.com or download the Lowcountry Go app to get started.
To get started with Ridelowgo – register on website. You will be asked to provide your home address, your work address, your work schedule, contact info, and ridematching preference. In order to complete the process, open the email that asks you to create a password in order to log in to your profile.
Or contact the Vanpool Coordinator:
BCDCOG Vanpool Coordinator
5790 Casper Padgett Way
North Charleston, SC 29406
How is this program funded?
Lowcountry Go is supported through a combination of funds provided by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
How do I make a payment?
BCDCOG accepts checks, credit cards, or money orders through an online payment system. A member of the vanpool group is responsible for collecting fares from all the riders and providing BCDCOG with one monthly payment for the group. For more information, contact Vanpool
When are payments and monthly reports due?
Payments and mileage reports are due on the 1st of the month. Payments and reports received after the 7th will be assessed a $25 late fee.
How long is the lease agreement for a van?
BCDCOG vanpools operate on a month-to-month basis. If at any time you would like to stop using the van all we require is 30-days advanced notice and we will come pick up the vehicle.
I’ve signed up on Ridelowgo.com but not finding any ridematches. Why not?
It may be that we don’t have someone else registered with us that works at or near the same location, has the same hours, and lives close enough to make ridesharing possible. You can double check by broadening your search area (adjust the radius to wider) or time frame. Feel free to call or contact us if you want help with that. Also keep in mind that our service is growing, so your perfect match could sign up any day now.
Where are vans allowed to be kept? Allowed to operate vanpool vehicle from my home?
Yes. As long as BCDCOG approves the parking location
Can be kept at your home or a pre-approved location by BCDCOG
Why do you collect so much information?
We need your home address, work address, and work schedule to determine if there is a ridematch for you. We ask for your contact information so we can provide you with your ridematch information or provide your contact information to another potential ridematch.
How do I get my employer involved?
Your employer may be interested to learn that they may offer these services to their employees. It is usually best to speak with someone from Human Resources, if your employer has a Human Resource person. If not, speak with your supervisor and ask them to take a look at our website and give us a call or send us an email.
What if I have hesitations about riding with people that I don’t know?
Concerns for your personal safety are valid, but shouldn’t keep you from considering ridesharing. While these concerns shouldn’t be dismissed, they also shouldn’t stand in the way of saving some money, reducing carbon emissions, and making your commute more relaxing. So be smart – we recommend communicating by email with a potential vanpool partner and once you feel comfortable, meet in a public place for a trial run. You can also check out their social media, like Facebook or LinkedIn, if they’re public, to get a send of who you might be spending your rush hours with.
Prior to joining a carpool or vanpool, we suggest reaching out to potential partners and meeting somewhere public to set expectations for the commute – go out for lunch or coffee to make sure it’s a good fit. It’s important to set ground rules up front and decide things like what radio station you’ll listen to, who will drive, and how you’ll split gas costs. You can also try out the new commute a few times before fully committing to see how it will work out.
Is my commuter profile information used and shared?
Your commuter profile information is used and shared only for the purposes of ridematching and ridesharing services. We will provide your contact information to someone you match with in order to allow you to contact and be contacted about ridesharing opportunities from other members in our system. We do not share or sell any of your personal information with any outside agencies or organizations.