Kentuckians Getting a Ticket To Ride

By Abby Piper, Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts

Two years ago, when Kristin Blocker’s husband Jerry lost his job, it put a significant strain on the family finances. Without the additional income, Kristen Blocker couldn’t afford the gas to get to her job in LaGrange, 45 minutes from her home. When she heard about Ticket To Ride from her coworkers, she knew she had to jump on board.

“This program has been a lifesaver for me,” Blocker said.

“This program has saved me at least $6,000.

I was spending roughly $80 a week in gas, not to mention oil changes every two months…[Ticket To Ride] costs me roughly $40 a month.”
Started in 2001, the Ticket To Ride program is run by the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency, the area development district and metropolitan planning organization serving Bullitt, Spencer, Shelby, Henry, Trimble, Oldham, and Jefferson Counties in Kentucky and Clark and Floyd Counties in Indiana. Since its inception, the program has grown from 4 vans

“Vanpools commuting from Louisville to Georgetown and Lexington save their riders about 75% of their commuting costs. Depending on the type of personal vehicle they drive, these monthly savings can range from $500-$800 per person.”

-Kelly Tyra, program manager

with around 30 riders to 75 vans serving almost 700 people, an average of 9 people per van. They serve seven counties in Kentucky (Oldham, Jefferson, Shelby, Trimble, Henry, Spencer, and Bullitt) and 2 in Indiana (Clark, and Floyd). Riders come to Louisville every day from Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Fort Knox, Shelbyville, Georgetown, Lexington, and Frankfort, and other communities.

“This has really helped people like me who were struggling to make ends meet. I am blessed to be able to be part of such a great program,” Blocker said.

Above: One of the Ticket To Ride vans housed at the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA)

Cost to Participate

The cost to ride is calculated per vanpool by dividing the operating cost by the number of passengers. Operating costs are calculated to include a flat $150 monthly insurance fee, 21 cents per mile, and fuel costs.

How to Catch a Ride

To catch a ride on a vanpool near you, contact the Ticket To Ride office by visiting www.tickettoride.org or calling 1–866–822-POOL. If you are interested in starting a new vanpool, you need 7 riders to get on the road.

There are no paid drivers; riders on the vanpool select who will drive. CDLs are not required for vehicles with under 15 passengers. Primary drivers receive a free ride and 200 free personal miles per month and alternate drivers receive credit for the days they drive. Handicap accessible vehicles are available upon request.

Each vanpool is given a fuel card that allows the vanpool to purchase gas for the vehicle. They can also use this at Valvoline for oil changes every 3,000 miles. All vanpools are expected to keep up with oil changes and cleaning of the vehicles, but the program does an overall inspection every 9,000 miles to assist with upkeep of the vehicles.

“This program serves the community in a big way, cutting personal and environmental costs. It has a domino effect on the environment and on the community, and that’s the whole point of the program,” Kelly Tyra, Ticket To Ride director, said.

“Plus, federal employees can receive a transit stipend for using public transportation, and this qualifies for that stipend use,” Tyra said.

Ticket To Ride Testimonials

Blocker isn’t the only one saving her monthly finances with Ticket To Ride. Check out these accounts from other riders.

Marilyn Harris, Rider Since November 2008

Harris rides with 10 others who work with her at the Kentucky Housing Corporation, where they have a waiting list of people wanting a seat on their van. Harris has been commuting from Louisville to Frankfort for 15 years, a daily 90-mile round-trip.

“It was costing me $500 a month in gas just to get to work,” Harris said.

Harris says her vanpool collectively saves about $66,000 a year.

Josh Allfree, Rider Since July 2008

Allfree saves about $200 per month with Ticket To Ride.

“Because of the voucher program for active military and Department of the Army civilians, I have no out-of-pocket costs,” Allfree said.

Allfree serves as a driver for his vanpool, but said non-drivers save some stress, get some extra sleep, and they all help the environment.

“I think that the Ticket To Ride program is one of the best deals around,” he said.