Commuter Services

Outreach program of I-494 Corridor Commission

February Prize Drawing

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Replace a drive-alone trip to work or school and instead take the bus or train, bicycle, carpool, walk, telework or vanpool once this month.

Click here to participate

Monthly Prize Image

Commuter of the Month

Rich Gariepy
Best Buy Corporate - Vanpool Driver

Our first Commuter of the Month for 2020, Rich Gariepy (far right) admits he first thought about joining a vanpool because he wanted to drive in the MnPass lane on I-35W and he wanted to save money on his daily commute. What he didn’t expect, though, was how rewarding the experience would be.
“I have gotten so much more out of it than just saving time and money,” he said. “I consider the people I commute with each day to be very good friends now. Nobody puts headphones on, and we all share very different ideas and backgrounds openly and respectfully. I think we have all learned from one another and grown in many ways.”
His employer, Best Buy, participates in the region’s vanpool program, Metro Vanpool. Best Buy has several vanpools traveling to its corporate campus in Richfield. Along with the regional matching system that assists commuters in finding others with a similar commute, Best Buy helps form vanpools by connecting employees from the same area who are interested in sharing the ride.
“I had to pass up the first opportunity because of the timing, but the second chance I had allowed me to join a pool that met my needs,” Gariepy said.
Gariepy’s group of six meets at Metro Transit’s Kenrick Avenue Park & Ride facility, just off I-35. The covered parking works well – particularly on days of inclement weather – and is centrally located for all participants.
The group has changed over the 18 months he’s participated, due to schedule changes. In fact, he stepped in as the vanpool’s coordinator after the first coordinator moved out of state. Each vanpool assigns a designated primary driver and at least one back up driver so the van can operate continuously. In Gariepy’s van, all riders are registered alternate drivers, so there is maximum flexibility when scheduling conflicts arise.
Gariepy encourages commuters who have the interest or opportunity to go ahead and investigate vanpooling as an alternative to driving alone to work.
“Give it a try,” he said. “Be patient if at first it seems clunky. The benefits far outweigh any hassle you might perceive.”

Commuter Services has several vanpool resources available to anyone interested in learning more. By filling out our Commute Assistant form, commuters can learn how to start a new vanpool or join an existing one. Commuter Services is happy to talk to your company about starting a vanpool program. Please contact Kate Meredith, Director of Outreach at Kate@494corridor.org or 612-750-4494.

commuter of the month image
Click here for information about our December Commuter of the Month

December Prize Winner!

Prize: $100 Dick's Sporting Goods Gift Card

Myra Grady - Best Buy Headquarters

“I signed up to be in a vanpool to save mileage on my vehicle and on gas, but the most important reasons are not having to drive during rush hours and taking a car off the road.
I also enjoy spending time with my fellow riders, we can talk about any and everything, but the best part is that we are able to laugh during the ride to and from work.
If you have the chance to join a vanpool, give it a try!”

Carpool to Work Winner Photo

2020 Events

  • January - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode (Prize: Electric Snow Shovel)
  • February - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode (Prize: Portable Bluetooth Speaker)
    Heart Health Month
  • March - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode
  • April - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode
    Commuter Challenge
    State of the Commute Employer Luncheon is April 28
    Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22
    Get on Board Day is April 16
  • May - Commuter Challenge
    Commuter Choice Awards Ceremony is Friday, May 1 - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    National Bike to Work Week is May 11 - May 17. National Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 15
    Commuter Services also celebrates Bike to Work Week in June (see below)
  • June - Commuter Challenge
    Commuter Services’ Bike to Work Week is June 15-19
    Bike to Work Celebration is June 18, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. at REI in Bloomington
    Dump The Pump Day is on Thursday, June 18
  • July - Commuter Challenge
  • August - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode
  • September - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode
    (Richfield) Open Streets at Penn Fest Date TBD
    World Car Free Day: Tuesday, September 22
    (Edina) Open Streets on 50th Date TBD
  • October - Carpool to Work Month
  • November Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode
  • December - Monthly Incentive to Try a Sustainable Commute Mode

**Additional events will be added throughout the year