Don’t let Gas Prices Get You Down!

Gas prices keep going up! According to fuel gauge report, regular gas prices in Olympia increased .28 since last July! To save transportation costs, you don’t have to completely give up your car but, leaving it at home – even one or two days a week – really helps. And, you have lots of options for getting around. You can “drive less” by:

  • doing all your errands in one trip
  • carpooling with a friend to work or an event you both plan to attend
  • riding your bike – especially while the weather’s nice and you get exercise, too!
  • riding the bus (you can even put your bike on the rack on the front of the bus!)
  • walking to your destination
  • joining a vanpool to get to and from work
Olympia Fuel Prices

Olympia Fuel Prices as of 7-7-14

If you want to know how much you can save riding the bus, carpooling, or vanpooling, check out our commute cost calculator. If you’re ready to make a change, but don’t know how to get started – we can help! Contact us at 360-786-1881 or






Save Cash! “Dump the Pump” and Drive Less . . . Pass it on!

TellUsYourDTPStoryWith high gas prices and household budgets stretched thin, many people are looking for ways to save money. If you already share the ride or just drive less, you know about the many benefits – especially saving a bunch of cash! Now it’s time to spread the word: A typical commuter who leaves the car behind saves thousands of dollars a year.

This month, hundreds of public transportation systems across the country will participate in Dump the Pump activities. This nationwide effort encourages people to ride the bus, train, vanpool, carpool, walk, or bicycle instead of driving alone. It also emphasizes that public transportation helps our wallets and the environment,reduces congestion, and decreases our dependence on fossil fuels.

Here’s what YOU can do: Stop by one of our events to learn about ways to dump the pump and save cash (see below). You can get all the information you need to get started. If you already share the ride, encourage your family, friends, and co-workers to come to our event to learn how they can do the same!


Imagine a more sustainable Thurston Region

Imagine what a “sustainable” Thurston Region would look like in 2035?

 If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably picturing more folks walking, biking or riding the bus to get to jobs, schools, shops and other places. Indeed, a new sustainability plan, crafted as part the Thurston Regional Planning Council’s Sustainable Thurston  partnership project, contends that such forms of “active” transportation would help us stay fit, save money and protect the planet.  


The draft plan, called Creating Places—Preserving Spaces, shows that transportation is but one piece of a complex puzzle that includes land use, housing, energy, climate change, food systems and other interconnected issues. The plan fits the pieces together with a comprehensive vision, sets priority goals and targets, and recommends actions for the public- and private-sector partners. 

Goals and actions that conclude each of the six core chapters show us how to achieve our sustainability vision, who must be involved and when:

Actions that conclude the Economy chapter would coordinate economic development efforts, foster industry clusters, and diversify the region’s employment base. Changing how we use land would be good for business, too. Actions that conclude the Community chapter would create vital city and town centers that attract the artists, entrepreneurs, and other members of the creative class, as well as increase active transportation and affordable and accessible housing choices in close-in neighborhoods. Additional actions would transition auto-oriented transit corridors into a more walkable urban form and preserve rural lifestyles in the countryside.

Actions in the Opportunities and Choices chapter would create “complete” communities by tying together some of the aforementioned transportation, housing, and economic development issues with health and human services, local food systems, and access to schools. Such communities have efficient and equitable access to healthy food, quality schools, parks, and other opportunities.

Actions in the Investment chapter would maximize the use of existing public infrastructure and assets and prioritize and leverage future investments. Municipalities would deliver water, sewer, solid waste, public safety, transportation, and communications services in a more cost-effective manner and champion energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies that bolster energy independence and economic stability. The Environment chapter builds upon these actions to improve local air and water quality and mitigate global climate change.

The Leadership & Participation chapter ties the core chapters together and underscores the maxim “think regionally — act locally.” The chapter lists the first action steps we must take to achieve our priority goals and hit our sustainability targets. Such steps include prioritizing and protecting farms, forests and other lands facing development pressure, as well as drafting comprehensive climate action, water, and food systems plans.

Success will require sustained and widespread commitment. At the household level, this means individuals integrating sustainability actions into their life and influencing neighbors (here’s a pat on the back of all you veteran vanpoolers and bus riders!!). At the government level, it means municipalities integrating sustainability actions into their comprehensive plan and coordinating regionally with organizations such as Intercity Transit.

There’s much to read and consider in the 200-page plan, and the Thurston Regional Planning Council wants to know what you think. Here are three ways to weigh in:

Take a short spin through the plan and provide input by completing this survey.                                    

Join a community conversation on           

E-mail TRPC at

Vans Available to Community

Once again, our Surplus Van Grant Program has up to four 8- or 12-passenger vans available to eligible local oganizations through a grant application process to enhance transportation service to Thurston County residents. These retired vans have completed their lifecycle (with Intercity Transit) and would normally be sold at auction. Instead, we award them to community agencies serving clients in the Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm areas.

We invite interested applicants to attend a  voluntary pre-application workshop: 

                                             Thursday, August 9, 2012
                                             2:00 to 3:30 p.m.                 
                                             Friday, August 24, 2012 
                                             2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

The workshops will be held at the Intercity Transit board room (526 Pattison SE, Olympia). The workshops provide an opportunity to ask questions about the application process, selection criteria, and van maintenance, mileage and upkeep. Several of the vans will be available for inspection.

Grant applications will be available at the workshops, on our Web site, and by calling 360-786-8585. The  application packet provides specific details on the application process and schedule.Completed applications are due by 4 pm Friday, September 14, 2012. Only one vehicle will be awarded per organization. We anticipates awarding the vans in October.

For more information about the Surplus Van Grant Program, contact CarolynNewsome at 360-705-5829 or

Another “It happened on my commute” Story

 Hopefully you saw our last post about our Vanpool program celebrating its 30th anniversary. (If not, here’s the link: Here’s another story:

I ride the Yelm to MAMC vanpool and couldn’t be happier. The group I ride with have all become friends and look out for each other. When someone leaves, it’s like losing a family member. One of our riders relocated to California. Neomi had been on the van since it was formed and had been a regular rider. On her last day, the van riders met at a local restaurant before our pick up time of 0630 to have a farewell breakfast, then we all headed to our regular pick up spot and rode in together. Despite the early meeting time, even people who had scheduled that day off still met for breakfast and headed home following, that’s how close we have all become. Granted, there are many reasons to ride the van pool. Saving on the cost of gas is a reason everyone on our van can agree meets our need, having a parking spot closer than the outlying parking lots certainly doesn’t hurt with the unpredictable Washington weather we encounter, not to mention our regular drivers, Mike and Glenn, frequently drop off and pick up the riders at the front door. The wear and tear we put on our own vehicles is decreased and the set times for pick up and drop off make our commute simple and structured, but what I find for our van is that the friendships we’ve formed keeps all of us wanting to continue to ride together. I couldn’t choose a better group to commute with and I hope they feel the same.


Congrats! “It happened on my commute” Vanpool Winner!!

"It happened on my commute" WinnerOur vanpool program just turned 30 – and, that’s exciting news! We wanted to share the celebration with our vanpool riders so we decided to have some fun. We held a “It happened on my commute” promotion – asking our vanpool riders to share their funny, interesting, unique, emotional, etc stories about things that happen/have happened while vanpooling. Each rider who submitted a story would get entered in a random drawing for a Kindle Fire. We received well over 35 submissions with some really great stories! Thanks to everyone who sent one in.

We’ll share some of the stories over the next month or two, but for now, here’s the one that won (submitted by Marjorie, Vanpool #9)

In spite of all the obvious benefits vanpool ridership offers and all the good things you hear, they sometimes still get a bum rap.  You know those urban legends of the “bad rider” who’s rude, always late or practices poor hygiene!  Honestly, I was a little nervous about commuting an hour a day, five days a week with strangers.

 Last fall a seat opened up and I finally decided to give it a try.  What could I lose?  Gas prices were skyrocketing, green house gases are bad for us all and the wear and tear of a 90 mile round trip daily commute was getting old, particularly in inclement weather.

 I was nervous my first day, it almost felt like being the new kid getting on the school bus for the first time.  I remember driving to the park & ride lot and opening that van door, not to a bunch of strangers, but to nice, warm people who welcomed me aboard.

 It didn’t take long to feel right at home.  I look forward to seeing my vanpool family every day.  We laugh, tell jokes and genuinely care for each other.  Good times, lasting friendships and doing a small part to help the environment really happened on my commute.

Celebrate Earth Day. Save the Environment. Save Cash.

Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day. Have you thought about what steps you might take to help protect the planet? Did you know, in Washington State, 53% of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels come from transportation uses – like commute travel, freight, and planes? Transportation produces more than three times as much climate pollution as electricity production (according to Seattle-based Sightline Institute).  So, especially with high gas prices, the most effective way you can save money and the environment is to drive less. Maybe you can’t totally give up your car – but there are other ways you can drive less:

1) combine trips – like doing all your errands at once, instead of doing them one at a time

2) share the ride – carpool with a friend attending the same event or a co-worker to going to lunch, vanpool with someone who has a similar commute, or ride the bus

3)  skip the trip – don’t drive; walk or ride your bike, instead!

You just might be surprised how much you can save each month by driving less or using public transportation.The American Public Transportation Association’s latest “Transit Savings Report” indicates that one person riding public transportation can save about $844 a month – over $10,000 a year – living with one less car and using public transportation, instead. (This is based on average national gas price, parking costs, and auto and maintenance costs, as of April 16, 2012).  If you want to find out how much YOU can save by sharing the ride, use our online commute cost calculator.

We’d like to thank the thousands of people who ride our buses each day, the hundreds of  commuters who vanpool, along with the bicyclists and walkers who reduce their carbon footprint by using a more sustainable transportation option. We all benefit!