FAQs - STAR Van Program
Q: What is a STAR vanpool?
A: A vanpool is a group of 5 to 15 commuters who save money, time and stress by sharing their ride in a STAR.
Q: I do not live inside the METRO service area. Are vanpools available to commuters living outside the area?
A: Yes. STAR serves an eight-county region, which includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller and Harris Counties.
Q: I don't know 5 to 15 people living and working in my area who share the same hours. What can I do?
A: STAR Ride Matching service will match you with interested commuters who have similar travel patterns. Simply fill out the online STAR registration - https://www.ridemetroapp.org/ridepro/service.asp?Authenticated=False.
Q. Does the van go to individual's houses to pick them up?
A. Vanpoolers meet in a designated central location. This is where their cars will be lift during the day when the van is in use.
Q. What happens when I ride STAR to work and I have an emergency back home?
A. As a STAR customer, you are automatically enrolled in the Emergency Ride Home program. If you have a midday emergency or unscheduled overtime, you get to take a free ride home. The service is available Monday through Friday and all free rides must be authorized by a STAR representative. Here is all you have to do to arrange your ride home:
- Call STAR at 1-888-606-7433 or 713-224-7433.
- Call between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. No exceptions.
Q: I don't know any existing vanpoolers who have openings in their vans. How
can I join a vanpool?
A: Sign up for the STAR Ride Matching Service and you will receive help to start up a new vanpool or find you an existing one.
Q. What is the cost for riding in a STAR?
A. The cost is calculated according to mileage, the number of passengers and the size of the van (minivan to 15 passenger van), but the average cost per passenger is only $4 to $6 per day. Many employers also offer an additional transportation benefit that lowers costs even more. Most van drivers ride for free, with the monthly operating cost divided among the riders.
Q: I spend less than $70.00 per month in gas driving alone, so are there really any savings for me?
A: Vanpooling not only saves you money on gas, it also saves wear and tear on your car, and reduces routine maintenance costs. You also reduce your stress level and actually get to enjoy the ride to work, while saving time by using the HOV Lanes.
Q: Who will drive the van, and where will we meet?
A: An approved volunteer from the group drives the van. This way, the van stays in possession of the group at all times. Once the group is formed, we work with you to find a convenient central location for all the vanpoolers to meet.
Q: Who keeps the van when it is not in use?
A: Each group decides where the van will be kept. The driver may keep the van for limited personal use.
Q: How do I get started in a vanpool or carpool?
A: Give STAR a call, fax, or email us at STAR@ridemetro.org. We'll be glad to help group you with other commuters in a vanpool and provide you with more information regarding other RideShare services. Call us today at 713-224-RIDE, toll free 1-888-606-RIDE or fax us at 713-652-8962.
Q: Who collects the money?
A: The primary contact, generally the primary driver, can collect the money and pay the lease payemnt to STAR, gas, tolls, parking, etc. will be paid by the vanpool on an as need basis. Alternatively, each rider in a van has the ability to pay online!
Q: Once I'm on a vanpool, what if I decide vanpooling is not for me?
A: Vanpooling is only a month-to-month commitment. There are no long-term obligations.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding METRO's service or if you have any questions regarding this commuting program.