FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new Citilink program is underway that will provide assistance for residents getting to and from work. Citilink will partner with Businesses to provide a way for employees to get to work using a van, through a carpool-like system through the Joblink Vanpool Program.

Vanpool participants will have a lot of freedom, such as being able to communicate with each other as a group to see who will be the driver and where they will meet. Citilink Officials say it will be up to the Employer and Participants to make those decisions.

Costs such as gas, insurance and maintenance will be provided through the program by Citilink, the Employer, and Vanpool participants paying a monthly fee. There will also be a website where participants can log in, register, schedule their ride and manage costs.

John Metzinger, CEO at Citilink, says there are many factors that play into why this program is a need here in Fort Wayne.

“Joining Citilink a year and a half ago I keep hearing about the need for workforce mobility, employees are having difficulty finding workforce, and at the same time residents in Fort Wayne who would like to work are unable to get to the jobs because of mobility problems,” Metzinger said.

Ellen Cutter, Chief Economic Development Officer at Greater Fort Wayne says this new service is a step in the right direction and to help meet the growing workforce demands that our economy is currently having.

“With a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, it’s a struggle to find workers and so we have to get creative and we have to innovate,” Cutter said, “To me this is just another signal that we’re all rowing in the same direction, and really working together to further Fort Wayne and Allen County’s economy.”

Metzinger says the Vanpool Program has already been approved for operation by the Fort Wayne City Council and can only operate in Allen County. The final vote regarding funding will go before city council in October.

Metzinger says businesses will be able to choose different options for their vans, such as how many passenger seats they’d like and if a wheel chair specific van is needed. Business partners have yet to be announced.

The Vanpool program is expected to launch in early 2023.