Thursday, March 25, 2010


Rideshare explores 'vanpools' to casino
By Brian Hallenbeck
Publication: The Day
Published 03/25/2010 12:00 AM

Mashantucket - A transportation company is trying to organize "vanpools" for Foxwoods Resort Casino employees affected by Foxwoods' plan to curtail employee shuttle-bus service between the casino and commuter parking lots in Groton, North Stonington and Stonington.

The Rideshare Co., a Windsor-based nonprofit, dispatched Kris Tower, an account manager, to the casino, where she met with employees and distributed information Tuesday while manning a table set up in the Great Cedar Hotel.

Rideshare supplies Easy Street commuter vans throughout Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

"We took down names and information from people to see if we can match them up," Tower said Wednesday. "About 150 to 200 people showed interest."

Foxwoods has announced that as of May 1 it will discontinue shuttle service from its Midway Lot on Industrial Drive in Groton and, during the week, from Route 2 commuter lots adjacent to Interstate 95 in North Stonington and west of Route 78 in Stonington. Foxwoods management said it will help employees explore alternative means of transportation.

According to Tower, Rideshare can provide vans for groups of employees who have the same work schedules. It can dedicate a seven-seat minivan to groups of at least six employees, one of whom would drive the van and hang on to the keys. The van would make one round trip a day and would be left overnight in a commuter lot.

Rideshare, which also has 12- and 15-seaters, provides vans for many Connecticut workers who commute to Electric Boat, Pfizer, the Naval Submarine Base and the Army National Guard among other locations.

"It really depends on the employees' schedules," Tower said. "We don't use the vans as shuttles. They're dedicated to a group with the same work hours. It's always the same commuters in the van."

Given the range of shifts worked by Foxwoods employees, it will be a challenge to find groups of employees with the same hours, Tower said. Foxwoods will help match up workers for whom car-pooling is a better option, she said.

Easy Street van drivers must be at least 21 and have a five-year history of safe driving. Each commuter pays a monthly fee, Tower said, with Rideshare covering maintenance and insurance costs. Each driver is given a gas card.

Employers can arrange to have their employees pay with pre-tax dollars.

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