Park and Ride in Virginia
A guaranteed way home
Guaranteed Ride programs provide transportation for commuters in case of an emergency or unscheduled overtime at work.
These programs are available throughout Virginia – 85 percent of current Park and Ride users say there is a Guaranteed Ride or Emergency Ride program in their community.
Contact your area commuter resource agency to find a program near you.
Want to learn more? Check your area commuter resource agency
Learn the benefits of, different ways to use, and frequently used terms related to Park and Ride lots below.
Ridesharing means sharing your commute. It saves money and time while helping reduce environmental impact and keeping the community mobile – and, it's reliable (see Guaranteed Ride Home Program).
Carpooling is the most common form of ridesharing. Carpooling is when two or more commuters ride together in a private automobile on a continuing basis. It is a great way to save money and use HOV lanes. Carpools can be arranged in various ways:
- One person may drive all the time while passengers contribute to the cost (gas, parking, tolls)
- Participants may alternate driving and not exchange money
- The driver may pick up passengers at their homes or meet them at a central location. Park and Ride lots exist for this purpose.
If you’d like help locating a carpool or forming a new one, your local commuter resource agency can help.
Vanpooling is useful when your carpool has outgrown your car. A vanpool consists of five to 15 people who regularly commute together in a passenger van. Each rider shares in the cost of operating the van. One or more members are designated as the drivers. Some use the down time on the ride to catch up on sleep or work. For more, contact your local commuter resource agency.
Slugging from a Park and Ride lot is how many people get to school or work free. Slug lines are unofficial meeting places where commuters catch free rides with drivers who need additional riders in order to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Slugging is a popular form of commuting, but since it is community grown, no organization oversees it. The Virginia Department of Transportation does not manage or endorse slugging and accepts no liability for slugging activity. Each commuter must be aware of the potential risks, hazards, and difficulties associated with accepting a ride from an unknown person.
Biking and walking to a Park and Ride lot or to your destination can save you money and improve your fitness while helping to improve the environment. Check the interactive map to see if Park and Ride lots near you have bike parking facilities.
Transit is typically less expensive than taking your own car and in some cases, faster.
Commuter bus services can use HOV lanes and often get to your destination faster. During the ride you can nap, read, or check emails to get a head start on the day.
Light rail is a great stress-free option for longer commutes.
Contact your local commuter resource agency for more about the best transit route for you.
Teleworking means working from home or an off-site location, thereby avoiding or reducing the commute. Telework is a family and business-friendly public policy that helps some employers recruit and retain a high-quality workforce in a competitive job market. It also protects environmental quality and promotes energy conservation by reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. For some, telework allows a better work-family balance.
For these reasons, the Commonwealth of Virginia supports public and private sector efforts to promote greater adoption of teleworking. More: www.teleworkva.org
Using transportation modes such as carpooling and vanpooling supported by Park and Ride lots can be a great way to save time on your commute.
The increased number of passengers allows carpools and vanpools to use the HOV lanes when they are available. HOV lanes typically have less traffic. Ridesharing also gives commuters extra time to do other tasks, such as reading, emails, bills, etc.
Carpooling, vanpooling and public transportation offer many financial benefits. Using these instead of driving alone allows commuters to save money on gas, car maintenance and tolls.
Some employers offer commuter fare assistance or parking privileges for employees who use these modes.
Explore the possible savings ridesharing might offer you: www.commuterpage.com.
Driving alone can be frustrating and stressful. Ridesharing can help you to start and end your day more relaxed.
Ridesharing is smart for the environment and our future. Fewer cars on roads leads to less harmful emissions and cleaner air.
Employees who commute in vanpools, carpools and on public transit tend to be less stressed when they come to work.
When employees don’t spend time worrying about their commute, they spend more time focusing on work.
If commuters have several options, including ridesharing, transportation is not an obstacle and commuters make it to work more often and tend to stay with their employer longer.
When commuters carpool, vanpool, ride a bus, train, or bike, walk, or travel by some other alternate mode, the entire community benefits because there are fewer vehicles on road.
Use of alternate modes helps improve air quality, manage congestion, and reduces road wear and tear.
Research indicates those who don't use alternate modes recognize the benefits for the community (Department of Rail and Public Transportation, State of the Commute, 2007).
Park and Ride lots allow you to access various transportation options other than commuting alone in your vehicle. The first step in exploring your options is deciding what mode(s) of travel works for you.
If you need help deciding which to choose, turn to your local commuter resource agency.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) consists of policies and incentives to reduce travel demand and congestion and increase time savings to travelers. Ridesharing, using transit, biking, walking, flex-time work schedules, and telecommuting are all TDM strategies.
Commuter resource agencies provide location-specific information about ridesharing. Find your local agency here.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are open to cars that contain a certain number of occupants, shortening commute times for carpoolers, as well as everyone else, by reducing traffic on non-HOV lanes.
During certain periods, HOV-2 lanes require a minimum of two people per passenger vehicle. HOV-3 lanes have a minimum of three. Some vehicles are exempt.
Guaranteed ride home services provide ridesharing commuters with a reliable ride home if an unexpected situation arises and you must travel before or after your usual carpool, vanpool or transit option.
Most commuter resource agencies offer a free (or low cost) guaranteed ride home or emergency service. To use this service, you must register with your local commuter resource agency.
Get rewards by using these transportation options. Many employers offer programs to help employees make smart decisions about their commute. Some employers offer a pre-tax federal transit benefit subsidy that can help pay for vanpooling, commuter and local buses and commuter train.