Just about everyone on the island knows the feeling. The H-1 is swollen with cars, buses, SUVs and rusty jalopies that just won’t quit. The lane you’re in is not moving. You’ve left an hour and half early just to make it to work on time, but that is still cutting it short. You look around and notice that there’s only one person in each vehicle and you realize, that’s a lot of wasted time, wasted space and wasted gas, all wasting away our environment. Don’t breath in too deep; it’ll give you a headache.
And it rightfully should, the roads (and the earth) were not designed to handle the ever-increasing saturation of gasoline fueled vehicles on the island and certainly not the toxic emissions spewed forth during the hair-splitting malady of rush-hour traffic.
Mass transportation options have been proposed for future development, more buses, a rail system, a superferry. But these are expensive and remain bogged down in red tape. There is, however, a widely overlooked option buzzing around town everyday, an inexpensive option to driving solo that is easy to be a part of and has some really good perks.
Vanpool Hawai’i offers a complete Ridesharing Commuter Program that is door-to-door and almost as affordable as taking TheBus. All you need to get started is one driver and three passengers. The vans can accomadate up to six passengers, so there’s room for your group to grow. The volunteer driver must be 25 or older, have a clean drivers abstract, be employed at least part-time and is responsible for picking up and dropping off all riders.
The driver holds a bit of extra responsibility but is rewarded by the personal use of the van on the weekends. Vanpool offers 24 hr. roadside assistance and takes care of all van maintenance. The commuters share the responsibility of parking, gas and a monthly fee of $55 a head. Not bad considering the cheapest parking space available in town is at least $100 a month.
If you can’t get a group together in your area, check out the website at [www.vanpoolhawaii.com] and go to the available rides page for timetables and existing vanpools in your specific area.
Vanpool has recently stepped it up a notch, offering a new service, Coolpool, to lure potential commuters who might be put off by the big unstylish, boxy white van. Coolpool is bit more expensive at $70 a month, but the vehicles are the sleeker Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer and Dodge Grand Caravan. Now you can carpool in style and the driver has a styling ride with aluminum alloy sport rims and a CD player. Bling! You can even upgrade your Vanpool to a Coolpool vehicle.
Agriculture accounts for about 17 percent of the U.S. annual energy budget, which makes it the single largest consumer of petroleum products compared to other industries. The U.S. military, in all of its operations, uses only about half that amount. Approximately 350 gallons of oil equivalents are required to feed each person in the United States each year, and every calorie of food produced requires on average ten calories of fossil-fuel inputs.