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May 17, 2024

Creating a Carpool-Friendly Workplace

by Jennifer Owers

As the weather continues to get colder, commuters who typically walk, bike, or take public transportation may be tempted to start driving to work. However, it’s still possible to maintain your workplace’s sustainability goals even through this shift in commuting habits. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you reduce your driving employees’ carbon footprints by creating a carpool-friendly workplace. 

Understanding Carpooling and Vanpooling

When working to create a carpool-friendly workplace, it’s essential to understand what exactly carpooling entails. The most common form of ridesharing, carpooling, is an arrangement by a group of commuters to drive together in one commuter’s personal car to their worksite(s). Carpools usually consist of individuals who live and work near each other and have the same schedule. 

Similar to carpooling, another popular form of ridesharing is vanpooling. Vanpool commuters pay a monthly fare and drive together in a leased van to their worksite(s). These groups often meet at a park-and-ride lot and allow commuters to get the cost savings and convenience of public transit in areas with limited transit options. Vanpools are often the fastest and most cost-effective mode of travel for commuters traveling more than 15-20 miles to work. 

Providing Ridematching Assistance

While some of your employees may be interested in carpooling or vanpooling, many may not know where to begin or who to share the ride with. One way to boost carpooling numbers at your office is by offering ridematching assistance to pair up employees who can commute together. 

To match up employees in your office, conduct a survey or use employee zip codes to identify commuters who live near each other. If you have employees who live farther from their colleagues, share Commuter Connections’ ridematching resources with them. These services can help your employees find matches in their neighborhoods who work in nearby offices.

goDCgo can also help set up ridematching at your workplace. Reach out to us at [email protected] for customized assistance with your ridematching program. 

Offering Benefits and Amenities

There are numerous benefits and amenities that employers can offer to make carpooling and vanpooling to work easy. Perks you can offer to your employees include: 

  • Pre-tax and Tax-free Vanpool Benefits: The IRS allows vanpool commuters in minivans and full-size vans (seven to 15 passengers) to use commuter transit benefits toward vanpool fares. Employers may offer a pre-tax deduction or subsidy of up to $315 per month. Most regional vanpool providers accept SmartBenefits® as payment.
  • Carpool Benefits: Employers can also offer an additional taxable incentive to employees who carpool but do not qualify for existing transit or vanpool benefits programs. This is a great option for workplaces where carpoolers are spread out and commute in smaller groups.
  • ‘Pool Rewards: Share Commuter Connections’ ‘Pool Rewards program with your employees. Through this platform, carpool and vanpool commuters can earn cash incentives for each day they share the ride. New carpools and vanpools can earn up to $150 per month for choosing to share a ride to work!
  • Priority and Discounted Parking: Encourage employees to share the ride by reserving prime parking spaces or offering discounted parking to those who carpool or vanpool. If you have limited employee parking, leverage this as an opportunity to incentivize carpooling.

Easing Employees’ Worries

Carpooling can be a major change for commuters, especially for those who have never carpooled before. There are several ways you make the transition easier and quell the worries of employees who are on the fence. 

The Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program provides commuters who regularly (twice a week) take transit to work with FREE reliable rides home for emergencies or unscheduled overtime. Employees who register for the program can receive up to six rides per year, completely free of charge. goDCgo can help you promote the program by providing customized marketing materials and hosting on-site events to answer your employees’ questions. 

Another way to lessen employees’ fears about carpooling is by signing your workplace up for Lyft Pass. This offering lets organizations cover all or a portion of the cost of rides within employer-set parameters, such as time, location, or ride type. With Lyft Pass, you can cover rides for your employees under the guidelines you establish, such as offering a set number of free rides home per month. This is a wonderful backup option for employees who worry that they may run out of GRH rides or do not qualify for GRH. 

Get Help from goDCgo

Creating a carpool-friendly workplace can be overwhelming, which is why we’re available to provide free, customized assistance to District employers. Whether you’re looking to set up a carpool benefit, need help promoting GRH, or have questions about the options we’ve presented, schedule a meeting with us or email [email protected] to get started on building your workplaces’ carpool solutions. 

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