Skip to content Skip to navigation
Ramping up to fall semester: Learn how to do your part as we return to campus, and get the latest COVID-19 updates.Campus ReadyCOVID-19 Updates


How to Participate in a Vanpool

Vanpools are a cost-effective and convenient way for groups of five to eleven people to share their ride to work. Vanpools save you money, help the environment and can reduce your stress. Find out if a vanpool is right for you and how you can participate.

Who is eligible?

Faculty, staff and graduate students from UC Merced can participate in the vanpool program.

What are the incentives?

  • Save Money: Decrease gas and vehicle maintenance costs. Eliminate parking costs.
  • Free Trial Period: Ride free for one week on an established vanpool (space available), or for two weeks when forming a new vanpool.
  • Park Free When Necessary: Commuter Club members are eligible for occasional use permits for up to 24 free days of parking per permit year.
  • Emergency Rides Home: Register in advance for the Commute Connections Guaranteed Ride Home program. This is a program that provides rides in case of illness, unscheduled overtime, or family emergencies.

Incentives are subject to limitations. Read below for guidelines or contact the Commuter Club with questions.

How does a vanpool work?

  • Vanpool groups determine their own commuting schedule.
  • Each vanpool has a primary and back-up driver.
  • Riders board their vanpool at a predesignated time and location.
  • Vanpools drop off riders at locations near their offices.

What does it cost?

  • Monthly fees vary with the distance each vanpool must travel between the vanpool origin and campus.

How do I participate?

  • Find or form a vanpool that's right for you. You can use UC Merced's ridematching service to find a current vanpool that works for you.

What do I need to know about my Occasional Use permits?

  • Are not transferable. Only the member who is issued the permit can use it. The permit cannot be shared, sold, or given away.
  • Are only valid in non-specially marked spaces and are not valid in a reserved vanpool or carpool spaces.
  • Allow parking the vehicle(s) officially documented on the permit only. To add a vehicle please bring your registration to Transportation and Parking Services.
  • Expire at the end of the permit cycle; with no carry-over of unused parking.

Note: Violation of these policies may result in:

  • Parking citation
  • 6-month suspension from the Vanpool Program
  • Ineligibility to participate in any Commuter Club programs for up to 6 months.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Transportation and Parking Service (TAPS) office, and we're happy to assist you!  We can be reached at (209) 228-8277, or by email at