Natchez Transit may soon offer vanpooling

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 18, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Transit System will soon offer a new program aimed at helping residents carpool to work.

NTS was recently approached by the Community Transportation Association of America about becoming a provider in CTAA’s Vanpool Works program, NTS Executive Director Sabrena Bartley said.

Vanpool Works is a partnership between CTAA and Enterprise Rideshare, a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and is a program offered in other parts of the state and across the country, Bartley said.

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The program is geared toward creating a ride-share program, Bartley said, for residents needing a ride to work, or seeking to save money on their commute, who live in the same area.

“Hospitals, for example, are large employers, and if there are people commuting all in the same direction, we could pick up all of those people, and they could split the cost of the ride,” Bartley said.

Enterprise would provide 10- to 12-person passenger vans for the program as part of the company’s community outreach efforts, Bartley said, and would set the cost for the ride. NTS would receive reimbursement for administering the program.

The cost for the rides and the reimbursement figures are still being finalized, Bartley said.

While the ride-share program is in other parts of the state, Bartley said it is not currently offered in southwest Mississippi.

NTS does transport residents to work regularly, but cannot offer a large-scale program such as this one without the partnership with CTAA and Enterprise, Bartley said.

Bartley said she thinks it would be ideal for local residents who work at large employers like casinos in Vicksburg and other areas.

“We always want to do something that betters our community, especially in Natchez and southwest Mississippi,” she said.

NTS is currently expanding its parking lot at the regional transit center in Natchez, which Bartley said was part of the original plans for the center and will help accommodate more customer cars and the commuter vans for the program.

Bartley said NTS had hoped to have the program in place by October but does not know if that goal will be met.

“But it will be sometime in early fall,” she said.