Commute Options for Your Worksite
- Emergency Ride Home
- Bike or Walk
- Compressed Work Week
- Use Technology
- On-Site Amenities
- Other Options
Longer commutes make it harder to recruit and retain employees. Stress and time lost in traffic can cut productivity. Poor air quality, longer commutes and increasing traffic congestion can also stifle economic growth.
Starting a commute options program doesn't have to be daunting. No matter where your company or organization is located or what your industry sector, there are viable options that will work for you and for your employees.
Carpool/Ride Share. Commuting costs and/or limited parking space may be an issue at your worksite. Carpooling or ride sharing can save you and your employees money in reduced fuel and parking costs as well as reduced cost for procurement and maintenance of parking lots/structures. As an incentive, you can offer preferred or reduced-cost parking spaces to those who participate in carpools, provide on-site ride-matching assistance, and/or promote the Wisconsin Rideshare program offered through Wisconsin Department of Transportation for residents throughout Wisconsin and in bordering counties in other states. Wisconsin Rideshare matches commuters together for carpooling and bike pooling. The on-line service is interactive, allowing registrants to adjust search variables to achieve the best possible matches. Registrants can immediately contact their matches by email, track their commutes for environmental reporting, and link their information to Facebook. Bicyclists are matched by experience levels. The website offers tools for employers to start commuter programs for their employees, as well as tax incentives for both employers and employees. Employers can also track the environmental savings that their employees have achieved. Go to www.rideshare.wi.gov for additional program information.
Vanpool. Vanpools are groups of 7-15 people who live near each other and travel to a common destination or work center. Vanpools offer many benefits. For employees, vanpooling results in reduced commuting costs. For employers, a vanpool program provides reduced parking costs and less stressed, more satisfied workers. The Department of Administration’s State Vanpool program provides alternate transportation for state and non-state employees commuting to Madison from outside communities (including Milwaukee). Participants can join a group that is already established or, if there are enough interested people, they can form a new vanpool. Riders enjoy low rates, comfortable vans, and the benefit of convenient pick-up and drop-off locations. If interested, contact the Vanpool Office: 1-800-884-VANS or visit their website.
Transit. For areas where it is available, transit is one of the lowest cost methods of transportation. Discount pass programs are currently available through Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). Arrange for the sale of transit passes or tickets at or near your worksite, make transit maps and schedules available, and schedule meetings at sites which are accessible to transit.
- MCTS offers an unlimited use bus pass called the Commuter Value Pass (CVP) that can save individuals 65 percent or more on transit commuting costs. It's available through employers only. The employer's portion of the discounted monthly fee is fully tax deductible as an employee benefit business expense. Minimum participation requirements apply.
- Employers can also purchase Commuter Value Certificates through MCTS and distribute them to employees as a 100% employer paid, tax-free transit benefit. Each certificate can be exchanged for a weekly pass or strip of regular fare tickets, or can be used toward the purchase of premium/Freeway Flyer tickets. Commuter Value Certificates can be redeemed at any MCTS sales outlet. Contact MCTS at (414) 343-1777 or visit the website.
- Students of several colleges and universities qualify for the use of a U-PASS, a semester-long bus pass that can be used for unlimited free rides on any MCTS bus paid for as part of their university tuition and fees. U-PASS can be made available at any college or university in the MCTS service area. Call the MCTS Marketing Department at (414) 937-3252 for more information or visit the website.
Emergency Ride Programs keep employees using commute options from getting stranded. Through these programs, employees who use alternatives such as carpooling, vanpooling and transit are eligible for a free taxicab ride in the event of an emergency. By giving a guarantee, you give your employees peace of mind and a sense of control when they choose an alternative to solo driving.
- MCTS’s Emergency Ride Program provides MCTS’s Commuter Value Pass and vanpool participants with a taxi ride in the case of an employee or family member's illness or medical emergency. It meets the special needs of employees with children or other family members in schools or day care or whose regular transit service operates in peak periods only. It is free of charge and is administered by participating employers. For more information call MCTS Business Services at (414) 343-1777 or visit the website.
- WisDOT’s Emergency Ride Reimbursement Program. Southeast Wisconsin employers who offer their employee carpoolers and transit users a guaranteed ride home when an emergency arises at work can register with WisDOT. WisDOT will partially reimburse the expense incurred for the emergency ride at $0.49/mile. Visit the website or call (262) 521-5454 for more information.
Bike or Walk. For employees who live nearby, provide bike racks, showers and lockers for walking shoes and gear. Incorporate bicycling and walking into company wellness programs and work with local governments and property owners to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Flextime. Create a new schedule for your employees. With flextime, employees can avoid rush hour commutes and arrive at work more relaxed and ready to work. Flextime schedules may also help your business extend business hours. By letting employees arrive before 7 a.m. or after 9:30 a.m., and leave at either before 4 p.m. or after 6:30 p.m., you can also help alleviate morning and afternoon rush hour congestion. Flextime allows employees to set or modify their arrival and departure times to meet their transportation needs. Work schedules may be adjusted to match a vanpool, transit or carpool schedule.
Compressed Work Weeks. Let your employees adopt a 4/10-work schedule (4 days a week, 10 hours per day), and it will cut their weekly commute by 20%. Or consider the 9/80 schedule, where employees put in 80 hours over each two-week period, but only work nine of the 10 days. By staggering employee schedules so they have different days off, you can ensure that you have adequate coverage to meet your particular needs. For employees, alternative schedules, or compressed work weeks, help ease conflicts imposed by the need to schedule doctor visits, child care, and civic involvement during what would be otherwise considered “work hours”. Whichever alternative you choose, you'll see increased recruitment and retention, along with decreased stress, tardiness and absenteeism.
Telecommute. Telecommuting, (also known as teleworking) allows employees to work from their homes via computer Internet connections and the telephone. Telecommuting provides a sense of freedom and control and makes employees more productive. In fact, telecommuters report a 22% increase in productivity.* Research shows they are less stressed, more willing to work longer hours, and more focused on their jobs. Even if employees telework only occasionally one or two days per week, your business can be rewarded with increased productivity and higher satisfaction. In addition, businesses may save expenses by reducing office space costs.
Use Technology. Trips across town can take as long as the meeting itself. Instead of driving, try a phone or videoconference. Use e-mail or your company Intranet to communicate and share project work between offices. Use GPS and consider dispatching service employees from their homes to shorten unnecessary travel.
On-Site Amenities. Your on-site amenities can attract and retain employees. With amenities such as dry cleaning, cafeteria, daycare, fitness facility, or convenience stores on-site, your employees will not have to leave work to run quick errands.
Other Options. Bring lunch in occasionally, or provide drinks and dessert for employees who brown bag. Offer coupons or subsidies for on-site cafeterias. Or offer incentives for program participation, such as raffles, contests and giveaways. Reduce parking costs or constraints by offering cash payments in lieu of free or subsidized parking.