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Stanford Report, June 28, 2000

Stanford vanpool drivers honored

Stanford's vanpool coordinators -- those asphalt warriors who are the hub of the wheels delivering dozens of workers to their jobs each day -- take the spotlight this week.

In recognition of Vanpool Driver's Appreciation Week sponsored by RIDES for Bay Area Commuters from June 26 to 30, coordinators and their backup drivers for Stanford's eight vanpools are being honored by Parking and Transportation Services during a luncheon tomorrow. They represent 54 years of commuting.

It'll be an occasion to salute those who organize the 11-year-old Modesto vanpool's nearly four-hour daily roundtrips and the 13-year-old San Francisco vanpool. It also will be a time to acknowledge those who coordinate and drive the Tracy and San Francisco Sunset District vanpools, which kicked into service this year. Other vanpools and their inaugural years are Santa Cruz, 1989; Berkeley, 1995; Oakland, 1995; and San Ramon, 1993.

"Parking and Transportation Services, along with RIDES, would like to say thanks to all the vanpool drivers for their hard work and commitment for volunteering to be vanpool coordinators," says Margie Tellez, the employee transportation coordinator.

And for the coordinators, such as Digby Christian of Tracy, a facilities engineer at the Medical School, it will be a time to celebrate triumphs, instead of recalling tense moments like "having to walk the gantlet of baleful stares every time I'm more than a minute late."

Inflexibility is the hallmark of the vanpool. In non-air-conditioned Polya Hall, where Unix systems administrator Sandor Sklar works, employees get to go home when the temperature hits 85 degrees. Sklar, of the San Ramon vanpool, must stick around.

"I can't take advantage of that, so I usually just head for one of the libraries until the normal departure time," he says.

The honorees will be awarded certificates of appreciation.

For more information about vanpools, contact Tellez at margiet@bonair.stanford.edu or 725-0594. SR