Bearly Drivers carpool program celebrates one-year anniversary

WUSTL employees save money, park close, win prizes with carpool program

The university’s Bearly Drivers carpool program celebrated its one-year anniversary in January by giving away an iPad through a drawing to a Bearly Drivers carpool member. The winner was Kirsten Smith, administrative coordinator at the First-Year Center.

The program, which includes 76 carpool members in 34 carpools, allows full-time employees on the Danforth, North and West campuses to save money through reduced driving and parking costs, reserve in-demand parking spots, and win prizes through monthly drawings.

Through the program, employees work together to form a carpool by following a link on the Parking & Transportation website, Fifty-one additional WUSTL employees have signed up to join Bearly Drivers through the website and currently are looking for carpool matches.

“With a large number of university employees searching for potential carpool members, if drivers are looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they spend on parking and gasoline and reduce their environmental impact, Bearly Drivers is an excellent program to consider,” says Nicholas Stoff, director of Parking & Transportation Services.

Mary Ann Anderson, administrative assistant in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, carpools with three other employees from Chesterfield and Wildwood. Anderson drives every fourth week, which “has really, really helped with my gasoline bill,” she says.

Marsha Koch, director of administration in Information Services & Technology, says that she joined a Bearly Drivers carpool last year with Carol Murphy, administrative assistant at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, to help contribute to the university’s sustainability efforts. Koch lives in Manchester, and Murphy lives in Kirkwood.

“We happily discovered that we actually save money, and we have found that we rather enjoy having someone along for the 30-minute ride to and from work,” Koch says. “Having a designated Bearly Drivers parking space makes parking a breeze.”

Bearly Drivers carpool members can save a significant amount of money by trading in their individual parking passes for a carpool pass, Stoff says.

The annual parking permit fee for a carpool of two members is $200, reducing the cost of parking to $100 per person per year. The yearly fee is $100 for a three-member carpool (approximately $33 per person per year), and $50 for a carpool with four or more members (approximately $12 per person per year for a group of four).

An individual red parking permit costs $1,047 per year, and an individual yellow parking permit costs $459 per year.

Bearly Driver participants also can help reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the amount of cars on the road.

Through the program, participants receive two free daily yellow parking permits each month via campus mail to use when their schedules might make carpooling difficult.

Carpools also have access to priority parking. Parking Services reserves convenient, in-demand spots for carpoolers and adds more when needed.

Once a carpool has been formed, members are immediately eligible for monthly drawings for prizes, including gift cards and sporting event tickets. There also is a yearly drawing for a grand prize.

Employees must register their carpools with the Danforth Campus Parking & Transportation Office to receive benefits. After members form a carpool, they must complete an application and turn in their annual parking permits. The carpool will receive a new carpool permit, which can be used on any car registered with the carpool.

All carpoolers will be automatically enrolled in the Guaranteed Ride Home Program, a service that reimburses members the price of a taxi home in case of an emergency or for unscheduled overtime. The service can be used up to four times a year, not to exceed $60 per trip.

For more information, contact Stephanie Hunter at or (314) 935-4140 or visit