Why You Ride: Vanpool Edition – Charlie McDaniel is a true vanpool ambassador

Charlie McDaniel, winner of the Vanpool Ambassador Award. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro

Charlie McDaniel, winner of the Vanpool Ambassador Award. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro

Each year, the Diamond Awards recognize the achievements of corporate rideshare programs in the region and their contribution toward decreasing gasoline consumption, air pollution and commuter costs. New this year were the Ambassador awards, which acknowledged commuters for ridesharing and for taking the initiative to promote transit alternatives to their peers.

The recipient of the Vanpool Ambassador award, Charlie McDaniel of Jones Day, is a true advocate of ridesharing. Charlie formed 10 vanpools for commuters from Riverside to Union Station–an impressive feat especially because she was able to form 4 in one day!

Below, Charlie shares her thoughts on her daily commute and talks about why she shares the ride.

What made you decide to rideshare?

Commuting to downtown Los Angeles from the Inland Empire can be time consuming and expensive. I knew a lot of people with the same problem, and they asked if I could try to figure out a less expensive way for everyone to get to work. I then looked into vanpooling and learned how beneficial it could be for everyone involved. After figuring out what it would cost for people to get into L.A. from various cities in the Inland Empire, I commenced passing out flyers asking people who were interested in vanpooling to contact me with their travel times. I got an amazing response and began putting together various vanpools out of Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona and the like.  

I was particularly interested in saving people money. At the time I got involved in this, a lot of households were reduced to single income households due to the economy and mass layoffs and desperately needed a more cost-effective commute. It was and is a major success because we are able to accommodate personal schedules, and it resulted in a major reduction in what had to be paid monthly.
How often do you rideshare to work now? How long does it take? 

Five days a week, Monday through Friday. The commute is roughly an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. I’ll have been vanpooling for 2 years by this July.

What tips do you have for making a vanpool commute easier?

The key to having a happy vanpool is that everyone is congenial, takes heed of the rules and abides by them.  

Thank you, Charlie, for being a leader in the vanpool community! Keep up the good work, and happy commuting.