Vanpoolers transition from paper to plastic
May 24, 2012
U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal, Mich. -- At the Detroit Arsenal, employees who take advantage of both SMART bus and the Army Mass Transportation Benefit Program through Michivan Vanpool Systems Incorporated will make the transition from paper to plastic effective July 1.
Paying for these benefits will now be handled via debit card rather than check for current and future participants. Those who participate in the MTBP Program will receive their debit cards the first week of June. Program participants will then need to ensure that their debit cards are activated and their ridership fees are paid each month using the Vanpool Services Incorporated online account. SMART bus users have the options of purchasing their tickets at the bus depot or online at www.smartbus.org. The first debit card cycle begins June 10, at which time the funding is loaded onto the cards. Program participants will have until July 9 to access their VPSI online account to apply their funding to pay for July's ridership. The cycle then repeats, with cards being funded monthly on the tenth, and participants having until the ninth to pay for riding fees.
Employees at the Directorate of Logistics expect the debit card system to be a big time-saver and paper-saver, both for themselves and their customers. Mass Transit Benefits Manager Shawn Morris described the old process of collecting checks, stating "when I received the money, around $400,000 quarterly, I had to count that money and do labels with each rider's name on it." With nearly 1,000 program participants currently at the Detroit Arsenal, her time savings will be considerable. In addition, customers will no longer be required to pick up checks quarterly, and the primary drivers will no longer be saddled with collecting participants' checks and mailing them to VPSI.
Thanks to the TRANServe Debit Card transition, those considering the MTBP Program now have an additional incentive of enhanced convenience to join. The Transportation Division continues to welcome Detroit Arsenal Department of Defense employees into the program. Participants can still receive up to $125 monthly based on commuting distance and van size for VPSI and SMART bus cost for bus riders. At the time of enrollment, vanpool riders are encouraged to sign up for the Guaranteed Ride Home Program, designed for situations when riders are unable to return home with their vanpool due to emergency. The program allows riders to take a taxi or rental car up to 100 miles one way, up to twice per month and six times per year, and receive reimbursement for the cost.
DoD employees interested in joining the Mass Transportation Benefit Program can contact Shawn Morris at 586-282-5774.