Hill commuters can enjoy financial and environmental vanpool benefits

  • Published
  • By Donovan Potter, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Hill federal civilian employees, military members and non-appropriated fund employees are saving money for the 20th year while helping to save the environment through Utah Transit Authority vanpools.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s program, officially called the Transportation Incentive Program or TIP, has hundreds of participants riding more than 80 UTA vans to and from base. The vans have numerous community pick up and drop off locations, as well as two FrontRunner options via the nearby Clearfield Station. 

Scott Stoddard, Hill AFB Pollution Prevention Program manager and a 10-year vanpooler said for him, joining a vanpool was a no-brainer because he can get to work for free and each vanpool takes between three and six vehicles off Northern Utah roads where there is some of the worst air quality in the entire country.

“You don’t have to pull a single dollar out of your wallet to get to and from work every day, when you’re in a vanpool,” Stoddard said. “Plus, I saw a list recently showing Salt Lake City as number 10 for worst air quality in the country and half of that is attributed to our many vehicles on the road.”

Other vanpool benefits including saving money on car insurance, enjoying a stress-free commute and reducing wear and tear on a personal vehicle.

“I’ve only driven my own vehicle to work a handful of times in the past 10 years,” Stoddard said. “It’s almost too good to be true.”

U.S. Department of Transportation provides an up-front benefit each month via a debit card which can even be set up as auto-pay to cover the vanpool fee based on the number of miles the vanpool group travels each month.  

“Each UTA van has a gas card assigned to it” Stoddard said. “When the van gets low on fuel, you just use the card to fill up; no charge to the riders.”

Luwanna Fitzgerald, UTA Rideshare specialist, said vanpools have been running since 2003 when the program replaced full-sized buses that would take people on base in the morning and get them home at the end of the day, similar to a school bus route.

“The Hill bus drivers were employed by UTA as part-time bus drivers,” Fitzgerald said. “The bus would drive on base and stay all day. It was costly and inefficient.”

Through an Executive Order, signed by President Clinton in 2000, a nationwide program was implemented that introduced vanpools. A slogan from the era that still rings true today is, “Try Vanpooling: It's Vantastic!" 

To get a list of vanpools to join, email Fitzgerald, at  lfitzgerald@rideuta.com. Once the specific vanpool has been coordinated, start the TIP benefit process by emailing: hill.tip@us.af.mil.