Make your commute a little easier

"We started way back in 1984 with two vanpools from Palmdale and Canyon Country and have managed to be sustainable over time, increasing van pool, carpool, public transit, bicycling, and walking programs on campus," said Penny Menton, UCLA Transportation Services.

Today, UCLA's transportation services department has 156 vanpools in operation, serving areas as far as Hesperia, Riverside, and north San Diego County.

After being hired on campus, one of the first things Jumy Rollins asked about was if she could join a vanpool.

"Because gas prices are rising and my commute's over 25 miles," said Rollins. "Everything included, the traffic, having to sit in traffic. It's just a great, great plus for me."

"It only takes about an hour to get here," said Amanda Cogiswell, who saves time by vanpooling.

Cogiswell says her normal commute would take about two hours.

If your company doesn't offer a rideshare program, there are several Web sites that make it possible to find your own. Some, like, take sharing the ride to the next level.

"Not only for work," said Evan Gray Meyer, "It's heavily commute-based, but it also can be for any one-time ride. Maybe you're going from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Maybe from here to San Francisco, and you can find somebody to actually split the gas and costs with you."

"You just punch in where you're going from, to, and the time you want to get there, and whether it's a one-time ride, like an airport, or a recurring ride, like a commute, and you click and you search for an amigo," said Jeffrey Chernick, "It's that easy."

Sign-up is free, but signing onto having a stranger in the car is a common concern.

"We absolutely urge people to get on the phone with your amigo and actually talk with them beforehand," said Chernick. "Maybe meet on the corner. It's only awkward a little bit, the first time. And then you've actually met them. And then after that, that's why it's called "Ride Amigos," you actually become amigos with them over the course of time."


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