Mass Transit and Vanpool Riders Receive Greatest Benefit From Corporate Environmental Stewardship Efforts
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An increasing number of California employees are seeking information from their employers about transportation incentive programs as a way to reduce pollution and help the environment.
Inquiries about vanpools and other commute alternatives are up 20% over a year ago according to Connie McGee, Rideshare Coordinator for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Northern California. Enterprise administers hundreds of vanpools programs in Northern California at dozens of companies including Yahoo! Inc., Oracle and Sutter Health System among others
“Many of these companies are updating their environmental platforms and want to know more about the kind of sustainable contributions they can make,” said McGee. “We are getting rideshare inquiries from new companies and expanding our offerings to companies that are already on board,” she added.
“Yahoo! is excited about offering the vanpool program to our employees as it provides riders the freedom to work as they travel with access to WiFi, the opportunity to take real action against pollution and traffic congestion, and the financial benefits of low travel costs,” said Danielle Bricker, Commute Coordinator at Yahoo!. “Yahoo! is always evaluating ways to further expand our employee commute alternative programs to offer greater flexibility and commute options that help make a positive impact on the environment.”
Oracle, which created a rideshare program in August of last year, has seen a three-fold increase in the number of employees using its vanpool program.
“Oracle is committed to offering our employees alternative transportation options as a way to help ease the stress of daily commutes, reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion. Our vanpool program has proven tremendously successful and interest continues to grow. The vanpools have proven to be win-win for everyone – for our employees, the company and the environment,” said Jordan Boyd, Manager, HQ and Commuter Services, Oracle.
Enterprise works with companies with 200 or more employees to set-up and administer vanpool programs at work sites. Vanpool groups are formed by Enterprise, which uses a proprietary process to match up employees who live near one another and who have the same work hours.
“The vanpool program has helped Sutter employees save time and reduce their commute costs,” said Alice Price, Transportation Systems Coordinator at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento (SMCS). “This, in return, has benefited SMCS with employee satisfaction and less parking congestion.”
On average, a vanpool participant can expect to pay $130-$160 a month including gas and insurance, but many companies provide their employees with a monthly stipend and/or pre-tax write-offs to offset the cost. By comparison a commuter driving a 2004 Ford Explorer 75 miles to and from work roundtrip each day averages approximately $426.00 a month in commute costs including gas, car depreciation, maintenance and extra insurance costs based on higher mileage driving, according to McGee.
Some vanpool participants may be eligible to receive a tax incentive allowing a $110 per month gross income tax exemption for a total exemption of up to $1,260 per year. In addition, there are a variety of county-run subsidy programs available to vanpool participants.
One additional attractive benefit often overlooked is almost all major auto insurance companies offer significant discounts (10 percent to 30 percent) to drivers who designate their cars as a “recreational vehicles only,” and who use their vehicles solely for purposes other than driving to work.
Enterprise has created a full-service support plan that provides maintenance, roadside assistance and insurance. The company offers a toll-free customer service support line to help riders with billing questions and all other operational and administrative questions.
Participants also have access to Enterprises’ Guaranteed Ride Home, which ensures they are always able to leave work at unscheduled times in case of emergencies and/or unforeseen events for an additional cost per trip.
Commuters at companies with fewer than 200 employees can look for existing vanpool groups to join on Enterprise’s vanpool website, www.vanpool.com.