|Travel Reduction Program|
Due to high gas prices and environmental concerns, more Central Arizona College faculty, staff, and students are looking for alternatives to commuting alone to college. Although Pinal County lacks a county-wide public transportation system, there are ways to reduce the cost of commuting between home and CAC.
A carpool is an arrangement in which two to six people traveling in the same direction ride together in a car. The driver picks up fellow carpoolers at their homes or other locations for the final trip to work. Participants generally agree in advance on schedules, routes, and carpool days. Depending on the type of arrangement, employees may carpool full-time or part-time, depending on their individual needs. Carpools may have members who work at the same worksite, at different locations or for different employers.The benefits of carpooling
- Save money by decreasing automobile expenses either by splitting gasoline and normal maintenance costs among riders or alternating vehicles
- Reduce insurance premiums by eliminating or limiting use of personal vehicle for daily commuting
- Save time & bypass traffic congestion by using carpool lanes within Maricopa County
- Reduces stress—arrive more refreshed, relaxed, and ready to work
- Encourages new friendships with co-workers through ridesharing
- Provides useable time for riders—read, sleep, work, and talk
- Personal car available more often for other uses
- It’s flexible; you can do it even just one day a week
- You don’t need to own a car; you can join a carpool as a passenger
- Regular carpooling may even qualify you for certain commuter tax benefits
Why should I carpool? You’ll save money on gas by splitting driving costs among two or more commuters and zip past traffic in carpool lanes if they are available along your route.
Do I have to carpool every day? No. You can carpool anywhere from one day a week to every day—as often as your schedule permits.
What if I don’t have a car? No problem. You can join a carpool that doesn’t need a driver and pay your share of the gas expense.
Who does the driving? In most carpools, each person takes turns driving his/her own car. Some carpools have one person who drives every day. This is something you and your fellow passengers will want to address right away.
Cover the basics: In making your carpool arrangements be sure to get answers to some key questions:
- How often will you carpool? If everyone carpooled just once a week, there’d be fewer cars on the road.
- Who has a vehicle? If all passengers have a car, who will do the driving?
- Do all the drivers have full insurance coverage?
- Where will you meet? Carpoolers can pick each other up at home, or meet at a mutually convenient location.
- When will you meet? People’s work schedules are often more flexible than you think.
Decide the dollars: If commuters rotate the driving equally, money doesn’t need to change hands, but if only one person drives, passengers generally chip in to cover the costs of gas.
Establish “Rules of the Road”: Each carpool is unique, but in all successful carpools, each have agreed on:
- food, coffee, smoking & perfume/cologne usage radio choices
- how long drivers will wait for delays
- who is notified if someone is sick
Give it a trial run. Many commuters start carpooling on a trial basis, say for a month or two. Once you try it, you’ll see how much you like it!
The Cotton Express – Bus Service
The City of Coolidge provides the Cotton Express, the only public transportation system within Pinal County. The Cotton Express operates within Coolidge city limits, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Cotton Express features a Dial-A-Ride service (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) for passengers who are 55 years or older or who have a disability that prevents them walking more than two blocks to a bus stop. CAC’s Coolidge Training and Assessment Center (CTAC) in downtown Coolidge is within easy walking distance from a Cotton Express bus stop. The Cotton Express can provide bus service from Coolidge to the Signal Peak campus, upon request. The charge is $1.50 each way. Cotton Express’
telephone number is 520-723-7195.
Central Arizona Regional Transit Hours of Operation: 5:00am-8:00pm Monday through Friday
If you have questions about the new service please call 520-723-7195.
Pinal Rides – Inter-Community Public Transportation
Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens provides Pinal Rides, a van service that links several western Pinal County communities. The schedule of operation is as follows:
- Monday - City of Casa Grande
- Tuesdays – Florence, Coolidge, to Casa Grande
- Wednesdays – Arizona City, Eloy, Toltec to Casa Grande
- Fridays – Maricopa to Casa Grande
The van travelling on Tuesday passes Signal Peak Campus at 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Pinal Rides charges $3.00 one-way or round trip. It recommends that seniors aged 60 or more make a donation of $3.00 one-way or round trip. Pinal Rides can pick you up from your home. To schedule a ride, call 520-836-2758 (local) or 800-283-9393 (out of area). Twenty-four hour notice is required.
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved a Travel Reduction Ordinance for Area A of Pinal County on December 13, 2000. This ordinance requires schools of 50 or more driving age students in Area A to provide information to the Pinal County Travel Reduction Program Administrator.
Area A is located North of Arizona Farms Road and approximately 12 miles east of the Maricopa County line (Meridian Road). For a map of Area A, visit Pinal County’s website at: http://pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/
AirQuality/Documents/Maps/AreaA.pdf Area A encompasses the Superstition Mountain Campus, but not CAC’s other campuses and centers.
CAC began participating in the Travel Reduction program in July 2001. This program offers opportunities to save money, and reduce pollution. Gina Carlock is the Travel Reduction Survey Coordinator. In compliance with the Travel Reduction Ordinance, she coordinates student and employee surveys at Superstition Mountain Campus to determine the need for carpools and public transportation for the students. Participation in the annual survey process, using an alternative transportation mode (carpool, vanpool, bicycling, walking) will set an example for others to invest into our environment. CAC encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation.