Contact Commuter Programs

Phone: (319) 353-5770

Van pool rates are set each fiscal year taking into consideration the monthly cost of operating each van, minus Parking & Transportation's contribution. Rates will generally not change during the fiscal year unless there is an unexpected or substantial increase or decrease in expenses. In the event this happens, van pool members will be notified before any mid-year rate adjustments are implemented.

Riders are required to give a 14 day notice to withdraw from their van pool so a replacement can be found. Be sure to also notify your driver. Drivers are required to give a 60 day notice unless a new driver can be found sooner.

A lot less than you pay to drive alone! AAA's annual "Your Driving Costs" study recently revealed a 1.9% rise in the yearly cost to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average cost rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile. If you commute 60 miles roundtrip 5 days a week you would pay $8,496/year in commuting costs (60 miles x 5 days x 48 weeks/yr x .59 cents = $8,496). By contrast, a mini-van would cost $123/mo. ($1,476/yr). As you can see, van pool members have significant savings in contrast to driving alone. Parking & Transportation contributes approximately 30% of the cost of the Van Pool Program to help keep rates low for participants. Each passenger pays a low monthly fare which covers the remaining commuting costs. Eligible University employees may also use pre-tax dollars to pay for their van pool fees.

You can use public meters or ramps (except Hospital Ramps 1 & 4 from 8:30am-4:30pm M-F). There are also low cost long-term meters at the Finkbine and Hawkeye Commuter lots. You could also contact Parking Services for a daily temporary permit for the Hawkeye Commuter lot, Hancher Commuter lot or Lot 36 for a nominal fee.

If there are any injuries, call 911. If the accident is on campus, call UI Police. If the accident is off-campus, call the local police. As soon as possible, notify Commuter Programs and Fleet Services. You will also need to complete and sign a Regents Accident Report within 72 hours of the accident. The report should be sent to Commuter Programs, 100 WCTC. Each van should have an accident report in the van. The report can also be found at Regents Accident Report.

No, that is not an appropriate use of the van pool van. The vans are not to be used for conducting your work. Van pool fees are based partly on the number of miles the vans are driven. The extra miles and fuel used to drive to your meeting should be expenses incurred by your department, not the Van Pool Program and its members.

Permanent van members can ride another van provided there is space available and the driver is agreeable to it.

All potential drivers must first meet the University Driving Policy requirements. Potential drivers will have their driver's license checked to see if they meet the requirements. Drivers need to take a proactive driving on-line course (accessible from most computers) that takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to complete. After completing the on-line training, potential drivers should send a copy of their course completion certificate to Commuter Programs who will then approve them to drive.

No. The van should not be parked in a public lot unattended in your community. The van should be parked at the home of the driver. If that is not possible, then the home of the backup driver or another van member.

Generally, it is better to wait until the road crews have had time to clear the roads before heading home. However, if the driver wants to leave early, everyone who rode that day must have approval to leave early from their supervisor or have been able to make other arrangements to get home. We do not want to strand anyone at work. The van pool program does not have the authority regarding van pool member's work schedules. Van pool members must get approval from their supervisors. Given advancements in weather forecasting, the driver should discuss well in advance of storms if there is a possibility they may want to leave early or not come in at all. This allows members to find out from their supervisor if it will be an issue if they want to leave early. If it will be an issue, those members may want to consider finding another way to work or have an alternate way home so as to not prevent the van from leaving early. If the van will not be coming to work, drivers should notify everyone of the decision (call, text and/or email). Please refer to the University's Policy on Extreme Weather Protocol.

Yes, if you are an approved backup driver. All drivers should make arrangements to have a backup driver drive when they cannot. If a backup driver is not available, any permanent van member who has been approved to drive the van by the University can drive. If no one has been approved, the van will remain parked and members will need to carpool or make other arrangements for getting to work that day. No reimbursements are given for days the van is not driven. If you would like to be approved to drive you must meet the University Driving Policy.

If the van pool van's assigned lot if full when you arrive, park in the nearest ungated lot or, if applicable, the van's secondary assignment.  Notify Commuter Programs (319-353-5770 or that same day the assigned lot was full and state which lot the van parked in.

To be a financially sound consideration, we would need to have 6 people committed for a mini-van. They must be new to the program as it would be detrimental to pull existing members from current van pools to start a new one.

Yes. Every attempt is made to provide a close parking assignment near the driver's work location whenever possible. If a backup driver will be parking the van, an assignment closest to their location will be requested.

There should be a roadside assistance information card in the van. Call the number on the back of the card for help. Fleet Services has contracted with ARI to provide roadside assistance.

Use the fuel credit card that is in the van. Instructions for usage are available with either Commuter Programs or Fleet Services. Only put in enough fuel to get you back to campus where you can fill up at Fleet Services. If you end up paying for the fuel yourself, Fleet Services will reimburse you. Bring us your original receipt with your name, home address and vehicle license number written on the receipt.

Vanpooling isn't for everybody. It works best for commuters who drive long distances, work regular hours, don't mind the company of others and who are willing to compromise and help out with the daily operation of the van pool.

Drivers pick up and deliver the passengers and arrange for van maintenance. The van is usually housed at the primary driver's residence at night.

Take care of the van. Passengers should dispose of newspapers, coffee cups and anything else they brought. Drivers must take the van in for maintenance, keep usage logs and fill the van with gas.

Establish some rules. Each van pool member should have a chance to express his/her needs and concerns. Vanpoolers should agree upon certain ground rules at the outset such as:

  • Food, coffee, perfume/cologne usage
  • Radio choices
  • Drive safely
  • While you should not be a "backseat driver," you should immediately address concerns about a driver's driving practices.

Follow good van pool etiquette. Every van pool is unique, but good etiquette is essential to keep it running smoothly. Good etiquette takes into account communication, courtesy, and the safety of everyone in the van pool.


  • Communicate with your fellow vanpoolers.
  • Drive safely at all times.
  • Keep your van clean and in good condition.
  • Respect any rules the van pool has agreed, such as restrictions on eating or drinking.


  • Make a habit of being late.
  • Bring up controversial topics such as religion or politics unless you know your vanpoolers very well. While some people may enjoy discussing or debating these issues, other may prefer a quieter commute.
  • Have lengthy cell phone conversations while you are in the van pool.

Each van pool group needs a primary driver; at least one back-up driver (preferably two); and someone who will be the van pool coordinator (maintain ridership, mileage and maintenance records). Often, one person has more than one role. For example, it is common for the primary driver to act as van pool coordinator.

Yes. Van pool members are eligible for the Emergency Ride Home program when they ride to work in the van pool but have an unexpected emergency that requires them to leave early. Visit Emergency Ride Home Program for details.

A van pool is a group of University employees that ride together to and from work in a University-owned van. The employees who ride together in the van have similar work hours and commute from the same area. One person normally drives the van and is responsible for maintenance of the leased van, while the riders share the monthly costs of operating the van.

Fleet Services tracks mileage, age, and maintenance of vehicles and notifies Commuter Programs when it is time to swap current vans with new vehicles, trade with another department or another van within the van pool program. Balancing the mileage among the fleet of vehicles helps to maximize the resale value which in turn helps to keep the lease rates lower. Most vehicle changes happen in the Spring.

There is a vacuum cleaner at Fleet Services' maintenance shop that you could use. You may want to call them ahead of time to let them know you'd like to use the vacuum cleaner for the van pool van and they'll let you know where it is and where you should park the van in order to use it.

Fleet Services provides one (1) free car wash per month to their lease customers. Stop by the Fleet Services' office (portable building) and they will issue you a pass for a car wash at the Billion Honda Dealership located at 2641 Mormon Trek Blvd (off of Highway 1) in Iowa City. To redeem your car wash, pull up to one of the two public car wash lanes and present the attendant with your pass. We suggest you indicate on your log sheet when the van was washed so you know if the van has used its free monthly car wash. Additional car washes or those done at another car wash will be at your own expense.

Use the University fuel pumps south of the Cambus Maintenance Facility. In the middle of the pump island is a computer that you need to enter the current mileage and the van's ID number. If you do not know your van's ID number, please contact Commuter Programs or Fleet Services.

Only University of Iowa employees are allowed on the van. Family members and friends that are not University employees can not ride in the van.

A regular employee like you. One person volunteers to be the main driver and one or more riders agree to be backup drivers. All drivers must have a good driving record and be trained in the operation of the vehicle. In exchange for performing the main driver responsibilities, the main driver rides for free.

First, request a van pool using the My Van Pool portal. To see all the vans in the program, click on Request Van Pool. Select the van(s) you would like to join. If you select a van that is full, you will be placed on its waitlist and receive an offer when a space becomes available for you. If you request a van with a vacancy, you will receive an offer shortly. You can view vacancy status of each van pool online at List of Van Pools and Open Seats.

Each van pool has a waitlist. University employees may select any van pool they are interested in joining. There is not a minimum or maximum number of waitlists you can be on. However, we ask you only place your name on waitlists you are interested in to help reduce the wait time for others interested in the vans. You are ranked on the waitlist by waitlist application date.

University of Iowa faculty and staff and graduate teaching assistants employed 25% time or greater can be on the waitlist.

Yes, you can have a parking permit and be on a van pool waitlist. You can also keep your parking permit if you accept a spot on a van.

Yes, you can have a bus pass (U-PASS) and be on a van pool waitlist. However, if you accept a spot on a van pool and keep your bus pass, the cost of the bus pass will increase from the discounted rate to the standard rate.

Please contact Commuter Programs at or (319) 353-5770, and let us know the community and work hours you are interested in. If we get enough employees with similar commute schedules, we can look at forming a new vanpool. In the meantime, use the UI RideShare Network for help in finding others with similar commutes as you or to form a carpool.

Our office will send an email notification to your university email address when you get a van pool waitlist offer. After the email is sent, you will have 5 business days to accept or decline the offer.

All of your personal information is imported into the van pool waitlist through the University Active Directory. If you find any inaccuracies, please update your personal information through Employee Self Service. If you feel your waitlist entry is incorrect, contact us directly at

If a permanent assignment is not available on a van pool, you may be able to periodically ride on a van until an assignment is available through the Van Pool Substitute Rider program. You could also try using the UI RideShare Network. This interactive service can be used to map your commute using various modes of transportation, allows you to find commuting partners as well as calendar to record your commute trips so you can calculate your financial and health benefits based on your commuting habits. You can also map your commute to work or determine the distance to campus parking lots here:

Each van has a volunteer driver and most vans have at least one backup driver. The driver and backup drivers are members of the van pool group. The driver is the primary point of contact for the van pool. In exchange for driving duties, the driver has his/her monthly van pool fees waived while in this position. Most groups also have two to three authorized backup drivers to rotate driving responsibilities among themselves and the driver.