In the early months of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted wide-sweeping shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders across the United States. Now, as the masses are starting to get vaccinated and returning back to the office, the industry needs to think about what's next and how they will adapt and move forward in rebuilding and increasing vanpool ridership.
The vanpool industry has always catered to the full-time subscriber -- as a vanpooler, I am committed to a certain van and a certain schedule, I pay on a monthly basis, and I am often committed for months at a time. But, will riders return back to vanpooling full-time? In the future of hybrid work schedules, vanpool programs must provide more flexibility for riders who want to ride part-time or on an ad hoc basis. However, the lack of technology in this industry makes coordinating rides and booking seats extremely challenging. And without technology, there would be a huge burden on the vanpool coordinator or driver to manage who is riding everyday and how much everyone should pay.
Now is the time to become more app-driven and enable part-time, flexible, and dynamic vanpooling. A vanpool app can give any rider instant access to your routes, available seats, pricing, and promotions. The rider can enroll in your program and reserve a seat, all within a few minutes and without taking days to coordinate via emails or phone calls. Once the part-time rider sees how easy it is to ride a vanpool, a once a week ride becomes twice a week then 3 times.
Engaging the part-time rider will turn your existing vanpool program into one that is much more accessible and maximizes the utilization of every seat.