SPOKANE, Wash. — Increasing gas prices have Spokane residents turning to alternative ways of commuting to work.
For Danny Zickler, he uses his electric bike to get to work. He stays in North Spokane, but works on the South Hill.
"It takes me about an hour to get to work," Zickler, an employee at Bike Hub said. "But that's with taking my time, stopping at coffee shops and just getting to enjoy the ride."
His commute is about 20 miles, but he said switching from his car to a bike has benefitted his health and his pockets in a positive way.
"It was like $60 from E to full and you know everything’s going up with inflation, but wages aren’t really going up so what do you do? Buy a bike. Save in gas.”
Another alternative commute option Spokane resident Susie Lamsus is considering is Spokane Transit Authority's vanpool program.
The Vanpool program allows residents in Eastern Washington and North Idaho to create "vanpool" groups and commute to and from work.
Vans cost $60/month for Spokane County drivers, $80/month for Stevens and Kootenai County drivers and $100/month for drivers in all other counties.
That monthly flat fee covers the van's gas, maintenance, insurance and roadside assistance.
Lamsus said for her 20-mile commute from the South Hill to the Valley, joining a vanpool is worth the money in the long run.
“Before the gas spike, I was paying $40-$50 a week and that doesn’t include the tires and the oil change and everything else and so they give you a vehicle to use for $60 bucks a month and that easily pays for itself,” Lamsus said.
According to the Spokane Transit Authority, groups can range in size from 3 to 14 passengers and require at least 2 STA-approved drivers.
Interested drivers will need to submit a driver's application and send a copy of their driving record and photo of their driver's license to Spokane Transit Authority.
The STA Chief Operations Officer said 60 out of the 87 vans are currently in use.
People looking to join an existing vanpool or start their own can go to Commute Finder NW to see what pools are available.