Skip to main content

Commuter Programs

OmniRide partners with other organizations to improve the quality of life throughout the region by reducing air pollution and traffic congestion. As an added benefit, OmniRide passengers are eligible to participate in these programs:

Regional Transfers are easy for passengers who pay their fares with a SmarTrip card. Simply tap your card to the electronic farebox on your bus, and it will calculate and deduct the correct fare from your card when transferring. Transfers must be made within 3 hours of boarding to receive credit. No credit is given when transferring from an OmniRide bus to a Metrorail train or Metrobus or when paying cash.

Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) provides a safety net during emergencies for those who regularly take transit, vanpool, carpool, bike, or walk to work. If an unexpected personal emergency arises while at work – such as illness or unexpected overtime – those who are registered with the GRH program can get a FREE reliable ride home up to four times a year. GRH is administered through Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations. For details or to register call (800) 745-7433 or visit www.CommuterConnections.org.

SmartBenefits® is a tax-free or pre-tax benefit of up to $265 per month that private employers and federal agencies can provide to their employees to defray the cost of commuting. Using a convenient web-based program, employers simply assign the dollar value of an employee's monthly SmartBenefit directly to the employee's SmarTrip card for use on mass transit and in participating vanpools. The SmartBenefits program is administered through the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or Metro). For more information visit Metro's SmartBenefits page or call Metro at (202) 962-1326.

Employer Services provides FREE assistance to employers in OmniRide’s service area who want to encourage their staff members to find alternatives to commuting alone. Companies that promote such strategies can save money while improving employee morale and loyalty. All employers within OmniRide’s service area are eligible to participate. Call OmniRide's Employer Services Specialist at (703) 583-7782 for program details.

Vanpool Alliance is a public-private partnership between OmniRide, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), and the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC). Vanpool Alliance provides a monthly stipend to vanpools that report ridership data. To be eligible:  

  1. The vanpool must be registered in, originate, terminate or pass through the program's target area.
  2. The vehicle used by the group must have a potential occupancy of between 7 and 15 passengers.
  3. The owner/operator must certify and provide evidence that the van is covered by at least $1 million in liability insurance.
  4. The vehicle used must have fewer than 300,000 miles on the odometer and be less than 10 years old.
  5. The vehicle must have ridership that meets or exceeds 50% of potential occupancy.
  6. The vanpool must be open to the public.

For more information, and to apply for the program, visit Vanpool Alliance.

Vanpool Assistance Programs OmniRide provides limited financial assistance to encourage people to form vanpools (VanStart) and to keep those vanpools operating (VanSave). To qualify for assistance, certain requirements (listed below) must be met. In addition, Prince William County residents may take advantage of the Personal property Tax Relief Program for vanpools. (This form needs to be updated and is a dead link on the current website)

General Eligibility Requirements for OmniRide’s Vanpool Assistance Programs:

  1. The vanpool must register with the OmniRide Rideshare program by emailing Match@OmniRide.com or calling (703) 730-6664 or via Virginia Relay Center - TDD, call 711.
  2. The vanpool must be a non-profit operation.
  3. The owner/operator must certify that the van is appropriately insured under a Commercial Auto Policy or a Vanpool Policy in an insurance category different from a personal or family auto policy.
  4. The owner/operator must demonstrate continuous aggressive recruiting for new passengers. Additional recruiting assistance will be provided by OmniRide’s Rideshare Specialist.
  5. Additional eligibility, monitoring, or administrative guidelines may be set by OmniRide based on:
    • The operator's history as a vanpool operator or passenger
    • Origin and destination of the vanpool
    • Funding limitations
    • Market factors
    • Collective experience of the vanpools in the region
  6. A van may apply for assistance only if 46% or less of the total ridership was in a vanpool that received state financial vanpool assistance in the past 12 months. For example, on a 15-passenger van, no more than seven of the passengers may have been in a vanpool that received state financial assistance in the past 12 months.

VanStart provides temporary financial assistance to new vanpools that are just starting to build ridership. Please print and complete the Van Start Application and have it notarized. To be eligible:

  1. The vanpool must be in its first three months of operation.
  2. The owner/operator must demonstrate that at least 50% of the passenger capacity is full by supplying the Rideshare manager with the names and telephone numbers (work and home numbers) of existing passengers for verification purposes.

VanSave provides assistance to vanpools experiencing a loss of ridership that threatens the survival of the vanpool. Please print and complete the Van Save Application and have it notarized. To be eligible:

  1. The van must be registered with the OmniRide Rideshare database for at least 30 days prior to application for assistance.
  2. The van must have been operating for a minimum of six months and may not have received any state assistance funds for 12 months.
  3. The van must have lost at least 25% of its paid passengers for more than 30 days.
  4. The van must not have received a VanSave subsidy for the past 12 months.