Van pools on rise as gasoline prices rise

A vanpool is a partnership of commuters. The driver leases the van and riders sign on to share the expenses. Splitting costs, vanpooling is an inexpensive and relatively stress-free commute option. Plus, you can drop rich lines at the gym that begin, "My driver..."

Seeking ways to hammer a stake through the heart of gas prices, I begged a vanpool ride with an Elk Grove group I'd found online. I called van driver Jerry Ray, a Caltrans information systems analyst who graciously agreed to let me ride along in his 15-passenger van.

Ray, like many other Sacramento-area vanpool drivers, leases his van from the Enterprise Rideshare program, which offers eight-passenger minivans up to 15-passenger vans with roomy bench seats.

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