RideAmigos Founder Trades His Car for an E-bike

Leading by example is an essential aspect of the RideAmigos philosophy. We aren’t just here to talk about smart alternatives to solo driving; we strive to put our values into action. Our team members are active participants in our internal commuter programs, and they’ve shown a remarkable level of commitment. More than half of our employees choose transportation modes other than solo driving most of the time, and one-quarter of our team never travels to work in a single-occupancy vehicle.

Embrace of alternative modes by our founders is a big part of the reason we’ve been able to foster such an exceptional company culture around commuting. Today, we’d like to highlight the forward-thinking transportation decisions of our co-founder and director Jeff Chernick, who made the bold move to divest himself of his car altogether. RideAmigos is based in Santa Monica, California, and if you’re familiar with the Los Angeles area, you know that navigating the city without a car is by no means the most common option. Jeff has persevered, and now does most of his local travel by e-bike. His story makes a great case study in the many benefits of embracing alternative modes of transportation.

In a recent interview, Jeff shed some light on what initially inspired his decision to get rid of his car. He talked about the daily cost of parking and monthly costs for car payments and insurance. When his car’s lease came up for renewal it was a great time to consider better ways to spend his money and time. After initially extending his lease for six months, Jeff decided to take the initial plunge and go for a car-free lifestyle.

“The first step was just to give up the car and start talking Lyft and Uber to work,” Jeff said. “I did the math, and I was spending around $300 a month on my lease, plus gas and insurance. It’s usually around $9 each way for a Lyft or Uber, and now I wouldn’t have to park.” So, round-trip transportation to and from work cost about $18 a day, but Jeff freed himself of $9 to $10 per day in parking costs.

“It just made sense,” Jeff continued. He commutes to the office three to four days per week, which averaged about $70 per week in ride-hailing expenses. That added up to about $280 to $300 per month, which was less than the combined cost of his car lease, insurance, and daily parking.

So, from the standpoint of commuting to work, ditching his car made sense to Jeff. But what about personal trips? “The bigger trips are definitely harder,” Jeff conceded. “It does add up, but I was already taking Lyft and Uber for some personal trips anyways.” Factoring those trips in, Jeff was basically breaking even switching from his own car to ride-hailing. However, he also discovered an added benefit of his new commuting mode: he was able to be more productive during his trip to work by taking phone calls, catching up on emails, and prepping for the day.

As time went on, Jeff became disenchanted with sitting in traffic, despite the added productivity time. One morning on his way to work, he noticed there was a bike path along the beach that covered virtually his entire commuting route. “I had been thinking about getting an e-bike for a really long time,” Jeff said. The mental wheels started turning, and after doing some research and consulting several other RideAmigos team members who own e-bikes, Jeff found a model he liked and pulled the trigger. (He picked out a Joulvert Playa Voyager – it’s got a backseat for your amigos!)

“[The bike] goes up to 22 miles per hour, and my new commute is essentially the same amount of time it would take to drive if there’s no traffic.” Jeff’s particular e-bike model retails for about $1,800, and he found that making the change vastly accelerated his cost savings because he’s reliably able to use his e-bike for both commutes and personal trips, given Southern California’s dry and sunny climate.

“It’s definitely life-changing,” Jeff said. Yet, there were some issues to be ironed out along the way, like assembling the e-bike he bought and learning how to use all its features properly. “My one recommendation is do our research, talk to friends and local shops, and if you do end up ordering online, get it delivered right to a local bike shop so they can put it together for you.” Jeff also points out that buying an e-bike from a traditional retail shop that is familiar with e-bikes has its benefits, like service and maintenance support. “You might get a better deal online, but the big pro of buying from a shop is the service.”

Jeff summed up his personal transportation transformation by saying, “I still use Uber and Lyft here and there. I still carpool. I mix it up. I don’t e-bike every single day. But every time I bike to work, I save $20, and that means this bike will pay for itself in just a few months.”

Here at RideAmigos, we know here are lots of people like Jeff who, with a little encouragement and some additional mobility resources, could skip the solo drive and embrace a car-lite or car-free lifestyle. It’s why we’re committed to providing tools and programs for organizations of all types to help them connect commuters, provide transportation options, and reward sustainable choices. If your organization is ready to reduce costs and environmental impact through smarter commuter solutions, let us know – we’re here to help.

CommuteCon 2018 Highlights and Recap

CommuteCon 2018 was the largest and most successful episode of our annual commuter management and TDM conference to date, with nearly double the registrations and attendees compared to the 2017 event. Professionals from all over the world took part in CommuteCon 2018, and speakers representing a complete range of sectors including enterprise, government, and universities delivered talks filled with meaningful insights and valuable takeaways.

We’ve received great feedback about this year’s event from members of our audience. This year’s attendees were particularly enthusiastic about the presentations by keynote speakers Susan Shaheen and Simon Mainwaring. Shaheen, who co-directs UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, gave an illuminating talk on the social benefits of shared mobility. Mainwaring, founder and CEO of We First Branding, gave us a peek behind the curtain at some of his most effective strategies for leading conversations that drive social change. We’re incredibly fortunate and thankful that they took the time to join us.

The two keynotes, along with 18 other informative sessions, are available to view and download at commutecon.com. Other audience favorites included:

Hundreds of TDM professionals and stakeholders came together to join the live webcast, with many attending in groups of two to five people or more. It was a landmark event for the global commuter management community, and we’re beyond pleased that it was such a resounding success.

CommuteCon 2018 was presented by RideAmigos. We are grateful to our Sponsors,  JUMP and Scoop; Friends of the conference, Car2Go, CityFi, Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions, Lyft Business, First Transit, TransitScreen, UBER for Business, Waze Carpool, and Zipcar; and our Association Partner, the Association for Commuter Transportation.

The CommuteCon team is thrilled to announce that we’ve set the date for next year’s event. CommuteCon 2019 will take place on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – mark your calendars now! Like previous conferences, CommuteCon 2019 will be an accessible, community-oriented platform for the free exchange of ideas and strategies, all while helping TDM professionals expand their impact and inspiration. Visit commutecon.com to sign up for conference updates.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make CommuteCon 2018 such a meaningful and valuable event. We hope see you next year!

Announcing New Commuter Benefit Solutions Integration

RideAmigos and Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions are teaming up

The RideAmigos team has exciting news: we’re adding new platform integrations with Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions, and we couldn’t be more excited about the ways this will benefit our partners.

Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions is the nation’s only comprehensive commuter benefit solutions provider and number one resource for commuter savings. Since 1985,Edenred has served Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, top third party benefit administrators and the nation’s largest metropolitan area transit authorities.

With its premier solution offerings; Commuter Check, a nationwide commuter benefits program for employers; and WiredCommute, a private label program for third party administrators, Edenred is able to provide a one-stop total solution experience.Edenred’s mission is to make tax-free commuter benefits a staple in employee benefits packages nationwide.

Here’s a snapshot of some key Commuter Benefit Solutions numbers:

  • The company serves more than 12,000 employers representing over 1.9 million
    employees, including many Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies.
  • The company also maintains partnerships with over 50 national third-party
    administrators, more than 350 transit agencies, hundreds of bike shops, and over
    5,000 parking locations.

Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions has a strong core focus on managing and delivering both employer and employee-based commuter pre-tax benefits programs. These programs help enterprises generate savings of up to 7.65% per year on their payroll taxes while helping employees generate huge savings on their taxable incomes. They provide extensive support, including dedicated account managers, nationwide coverage, convenient product delivery, and a complete suite of support services.

RideAmigos is proud to be creating connections between Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions products and our industry-leading commuter management software. Our partnership will give the businesses and organizations that use our platform easy access to one of the world’s most powerful commuter benefit management programs. The goal is to make generating, tracking, and maximizing both employer- and employee-based tax savings as convenient and profitable as possible.

To learn more, check out the recent Coffee Talk webinar we held with Commuter Benefit Solutions to discuss their product and our plans, or contact us directly.

Partner Highlight: Ready, Set, Go-Tober

RideAmigos is proud to power Denver’s third annual Go-Tober Challenge program

The “Go-Tober Challenge” has taken the Denver metro area by storm for the third straight year. This popular program encourages commuters to ditch solo driving for at least one week during the month of October, and explore alternatives like carpooling, public transit, vanpooling, biking, walking, or teleworking.

Like all good challenge programs, Denver’s Go-Tober Challenge gives participants the chance to earn prizes in addition to bragging rights. According to Steve Erickson, the marketing and communications director for the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), “Go-Tober brings friendly competition into what’s truly a collaborative effort of reducing traffic congestion and emissions one commuter at a time. We all play a part in making our region a great place to live. It’s a win for everyone.”

During Go-Tober, Denver-area businesses can compete against one another to see which company can log the most commutes and the most miles using modes of transportation other than single-occupancy vehicles. The objective is to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of solo driving, promote alternatives, and empowering commuters to try new ways of getting around in the hopes of creating long-term behavior change.

The Go-Tober initiative is run by Way to Go, a partnership between DRCOG and seven local transportation management associations (TMAs). Employees that work for companies participating in the program must register at WayToGoTober.org, and log at least four round-trip commutes using smart alternatives over the course of the month. Companies earn valuable points for every one-way trip logged on the site, with the winners and leaders qualifying for prizes.

With powerful trip logging, route planning, incentive distribution, and transportation gamification features, RideAmigos is proud to be the software platform of choice for Go-Tober. We’re pleased to be a part of this popular and high-impact initiative that’s going a long way toward making Denver a better place to work and live.

Save the Date for CommuteCon ’18

Are you a passionate advocate for smarter commuting? Or an employee transportation coordinator looking for new ideas? Maybe you’re a regional planner tasked with reducing traffic, or a facilities manager trying to manage parking issues, or a a commuter program manager hoping for a chance to connect with colleagues.

Whoever you are and however you spend your time, if engaging with the innovators and ideas at the leading edge of commuter transportation sounds like fun, then YOU should be a part of CommuteCon – the largest online conference for transportation demand management.

Mark your calendars now for February 7th, 2018. CommuteCon is completely free and entirely online, so set aside a few hours to join us from the comfort of your computer and immerse yourself in the latest and greatest projects and programs from across the industry.

What to Expect from CommuteCon ’18

Curious what CommuteCon ’18 might look like? A great place to get an idea of what to expect is last year’s event. CommuteCon ’17 featured 16 sessions over the course of 4 hours, with over 500 registrants from all across North America and around the world.

Here’s a snapshot of a few of last year’s topics:

  • Mobility on Demand
  • How TDM Can Green Your Community
  • Commuter Management for Small Businesses
  • Social Media and Commuter Programs
  • Promoting Programs to Employees
  • Creative Cross-Promotions and Integrations
  • Leveraging Surveys for Good Programming
  • Marketing Techniques for the Non-Marketer
  • Transportation Systems Modeling

While this year’s event will bring a different mix of speakers and different topics, our primary focus remains centered on shifting commuter behavior for the common good.

If you’re looking for an accessible, affordable conference to expand your knowledge and kindle your passion for making an impact on your organization and community, look no further than CommuteCon.

Registration will be opening soon. To make sure you’re among the first to know when conference registration is available, be sure to sign up for the CommuteCon mailing list:

CommuteCon Commuter Management Conference


Zipcar Car-Sharing Integration Now Standard

The numerous mobility options available to modern commuters make it easier than ever to get by without owning your own car. Excellent transit, smart ride-hailing services, and expanding bicycle infrastructure all provide accessible ways to navigate the city. But sometimes, you just need a car of your own for a little while. That’s where car-sharing programs like Zipcar help fill the gaps in 21st-century urban mobility.

Zipcar is one of the largest and most well-known car-sharing services in the world, with over 1 million users and more than 12,000 vehicles. With shared cars available in most major metro areas, Zipcar plays an important role in the transportation spectrum, allowing for an easier transition to a car-free or car-lite lifestyle by providing short-term access to vehicles when needed.

As part of our ongoing mission to be the most comprehensive hub for commuter transportation and management, RideAmigos is excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Zipcar to give commuters easy access to shared vehicles right alongside all other available transportation options.

Our commuter trip planner now displays all local Zipcars and makes it easy to plan trips to and from Zipcar locations. Users can also click through to get more information about Zipcar, including how to sign up if they aren’t already members.

Zipcar integration is standard on all RideAmigos platforms where Zipcars are available in the region. Including Zipcars directly within our platform makes RideAmigos an even more complete solution for empowering commuters with smart, accessible mode options, and makes Zipcars easier to find and use as part of a modern urban lifestyle.

Learn more about the benefits of using a comprehensive commuter management platform like RideAmigos.

Making an Impact at ACT 2017

The 2017 installment of the ACT International Conference has come and gone, but the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from spending time with friends and colleagues from across the industry is still lingering. Find out how RideAmigos made an impact this year.

RideAmigos at ACT 2017

The 2017 Association for Commuter Transportation International Conference is coming up July 30th!

We’re looking forward to seeing lots of friends and RideAmigos family at this year’s ACT Conference in New Orleans. This conference is always something we look forward to as a great opportunity to connect with current partners, learn about what’s happening around the TDM industry, and have some fun sharing about RideAmigos.

Will you be at ACT 2017? If so, let’s get together!

Booth 23

Stop by our booth in the exhibit area! One of the main reasons we’re excited about this conference is the chance to chat with people in person. If you’re wanting to connect with one of us, booth 23 should be the first place to look.

Mobility Credits for Behavior Change
Tuesday, August 1st, 3:30pm

Jeffrey Chernick, RideAmigos CEO, will present on “Mobility Credits for Behavior Change: An Innovative Pilot to Create a Better Planet” Tuesday afternoon. Come over to the Sheraton Bayside C to learn about Century City TMO’s program to break down barriers to smarter commuting by providing valuable incentives and services like Lyft Line and Scoop. Linda Lyles from Century City and David Weisman from Scoop will also be speaking.

Academy Meet-up and Workshop
Tuesday August 1st, 6pm

Since so many of our partners attend ACT, it’s the perfect opportunity for an in-person Academy even. If you’re a RideAmigos partner or admin, join us for an evening of networking, idea-sharing, and brainstorming as we work together to create a better planet by shifting commuter behavior. The event is free and dinner will be provided.

Register here and be be sure to stick around for the party afterward …

Closing Night Karaoke Party
Tuesday, August 1st, 8pm

Partying with RideAmigos on the last night of the ACT conference has become an annual tradition! Don’t miss out on this chance to unwind with folks from across the industry and around the world. Practice your favorite karaoke tunes and get ready for a good time. The party is free, as is the open bar.

RSVP now for your ticket and tell your friends!

If you want to make sure we connect with you at the conference, send us a message and we’ll set up a time to cross paths!

Meet the Bike Commuters of RideAmigos

We don’t just help others with bike commuting, we practice it ourselves!

Over the course of Bike Month 2017, many members of the RideAmigos team took to two wheels and biked their way to their respective offices across the country. Some walked, others took transit, and as always we all tried to make solo driving our last choice, not our first. 100% of our Roanoke, VA office and 80% of our Bloomington, IN office bike commuted during May, and one of our executives made the decision to sell his car and invest in an e-bike!


As we wrap-up our Bike Month celebrations, we thought we’d highlight a few of our Amigos and their commuting efforts this month:

Corey Tucker – Partner Success Manager
Roanoke, VA

For the first time in a long time I live more than five miles from work, and instead of biking every day, I drive into the office a couple of days a week.  For bike to work month I wanted to make an effort to ride in, but had to figure out the best way to fit a 50 mile, one-way journey into my day.  Without enough light in the day to bike both ways, my fellow amigo, Matt McKimmy…who lives very close to the office, was generous enough to allow me to leave my car overnight so I could commute home one day, and back to the office the next.  One way, each day, on the bike.  Even with the best of intentions I was unable to find two consecutive days where I could sacrifice three hours to the bicycle until the last week of the month…and then it started raining.  Unwilling to give up on the dream I hopped on my bike one afternoon for a rainy 50 mile slog home…and again the next morning for a rainy 50 mile slog back to the office.  Luckily there was tasty hot chocolate waiting for me at the end.

Mark Stosberg – Senior Systems Engineer
Bloomington, IN

My Xtracycle cargo bike is convenient for hauling extra food and clothing supplies on Mondays and Tuesdays to support my run commutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays where I try to have a lighter load. On Wednesdays I telecommute and use the time saved commuting to run a mile to the elementary school with my kids instead of putting them on the bus. They love it and asked to keep a weekly run over the summer break.

By trading two bike commuting days per week for run commutes, I was able to find time to train for my first marathon two years ago. Now I’ve lost 30 pounds and placed first in my age group in a trail marathon this month. Although my age has only gone up, I’m in perhaps the best shape I’ve been in my life and most of my training miles come from active transportation.

Jeff Jackson – Marketing Manager
Roanoke, VA

I am not a cyclist. I rode a bike when I was a kid and very limited as an adult. For the month of May I was challenged to commute to work on a bike and I will admit I was not looking forward to the experience. The thought of adding time to my commute every day, being sweaty, and the risks of getting hit by a car or just not being aware and somehow hurting myself made me want to avoid this challenge altogether.

Now that the month is over, reflecting on my experience and I must say that my expectations were completely wrong. Since May first I have ridden on greenways, open roads all over the city, gone mountain biking on several trails and I have loved almost every ride. In the past month I have tried five different types of bikes, developed new friendships, seen more of the city, lost weight, improved my cardio, and rekindled a childhood-like joy that I had forgotten about.

I highly recommend everyone to try this for one month! The concerns that held me back were simply fears that weren’t true. The time I added to my commute was minimal, during the hottest days I never felt sweaty and I found that people were very respectful while I was on the road.

Matt McKimmy – Systems and Operations Manager
Roanoke, VA

In addition to biking and walking my 3-block commute for the entire month, I’ve also been actively involved in our local RideSolutions Ride Smart Challenge. While I’ve long been a bike commuter, this was my first time participating in a local challenge like this and contributing to the Sweaty Pedalers team victory was tremendous fun! In order to help encourage others to participate in bike month festivities my wife and I loaned a couple of our extra bikes to friends, which meant that most of the 70+ transportation miles I logged this month were on my super-capable (but also heavy) Yuba Mundo long-tail cargo bike.

Since I moved into the city in April, this bike month challenge was a great way to expedite learning the best bike routes around town, making new friends, and figuring out ways that I might be able to help others to see bikes as a great form of transportation. I have no doubt that I’ll bike more throughout the summer because of all the excitement and encouragement that were part of bike month.

Bike Month 2017 Collage


We hope all our partners and friends had great success with their Bike Month initiatives. If you’re looking for the perfect platform for running future bike challenges, bike-to-work incentive programs, and events, look no further than RideAmigos. We make it easy for people to shift away from solo driving and toward smarter, healthier commute options like biking, walking, carpooling, and more.

Find out how we can help make your Bike Month 2018 programs even more successful than this year’s – get started with RideAmigos today!

Bike Month Collaboration in the RideAmigos Academy

Be inspired by bike month collaboration success stories

May is National Bike Month, and RideAmigos is marking the occasion by promoting bike month collaboration efforts with our partner organizations. Together, we have helped create successful and innovative programs that we hope will inspire others to join in the fun.

National Bike Month Case Study: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County


Our National Bike Month collaboration case study comes from California, where the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments teamed up to launch an “All Star Challenge” in 2017.

The challenge centers on a friendly competition between neighboring companies and organizations, who are facing off to see which team can log the most bike commutes during National Bike Month. The competition includes:

  • Cal Poly State University vs. UC Santa Barbara
  • MINDBODY vs. Yardi Systems
  • California DOT (District 5) vs. RightScale
  • SRAM vs. Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition

Unlike other challenges that simply count trips or miles, this challenge pits teams from organizations of similar sizes head-to-head to see which can motivate the highest percentage of employees to swap their cars for pedal power. (Learn more at the Rideshare.org All Star Challenge site.)

Both government councils use the RideAmigos transportation demand management platform to help shift commuter behavior . The platform has proven to be an essential tool during the development and launch of the 2017 All Stars Challenge. Its comprehensive suite of trip logging, communication, and administration features have made this unique cross-county All Stars Challenge a far easier and more manageable task. Since both municipalities already used RideAmigos, which natively supports such “normalized” percentage-based challenges, setting up and running the challenge was as easy as deciding the teams, setting up the system, and displaying the results. 

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments has been an early adopter of the RideAmigos Academy Coffee Talk X initiative, which grew out of the popular Coffee Talk webinar series. In the ramp-up to the challenge, SLOCOG and SBCAG joined forces for several Coffee Talk X events to prepare their teams. Coffee Talk X enables RideAmigos partner organizations to draw ideas and foster direct connections with the employers and commuters they represent, helping them build sustainable commuting strategies that generate higher levels of participation. 

Beyond free participation in Coffee Talks, all RideAmigos platform administrators enjoy full access to the RideAmigos Academy. The Academy takes a community-focused approach to providing help, insights, ideas, and collaboration opportunities to those who want to play a leading role in the move toward sustainable commuting.

The RideAmigos team is all about collaboration, and we recognize that people have the power to create incredibly positive changes when they work together. To that end, we’d like to invite you to join our thriving and growing community of collaborators. Check out the numerous ways to get started with RideAmigos.