Commuter services as an employee benefit is a great investment in your company and community
Commuter services are programs that encourage employees to choose smarter, more efficient modes of transportation more often. The end objective is to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs), which is known to deliver a long list of benefits to your employees, your business, and your community.
Research has shown that commuters who leave their SOVs behind in favor of other options have lower levels of stress, higher levels of life and job satisfaction, and tend to be more productive at work.
Beyond benefitting from a happier and more energized team of employees, businesses also win by reducing their parking costs. Commuters who choose active modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking, are also less likely to burden company health insurance plans.
There’s more, businesses that align themselves with values that serve the greater good tend to enjoy a more positive perception among the public. They also have an easier time attracting and retaining top talent, which can translate into a major competitive advantage as a new generation of environmentally conscious young people move into the workforce in growing numbers.
You’ll also help your local community by doing your part to relieve traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These benefits become more pronounced and impactful as more businesses adopt commuter services programs.
Be strategic about the commuter services you offer and watch program participation rates climb
The key to building a successful commuter services program is to support a wide range of alternative transportation choices. This allows commuters to pick and choose the modes that best suit them, which in turn will generate higher participation rates. Here’s a run-down of the most popular options:
Linking like-minded commuters to expand their range of ridesharing options is an excellent strategy. Build internal communities within your company, or provide support that helps employees connect with other carpoolers who live and work in the same area.
Carpool incentive programs
Adding incentive programs for your employees, such as preferred parking or parking pass discounts for vehicles used in carpools, is a great way to bolster support for your ridesharing network.
If a lot of employees use the same transit stations or local commuting hubs, you can make their journey easier by using company-sponsored vanpools to provide point-to-point transportation to and from the office.
Provide secure bicycle parking, storage lockers, and showers to encourage more employees to bike to work. A lack of on-site infrastructure is one of the biggest obstacles that prevents more commuters from embracing pedal power as an alternative to driving. You can also create bikepool programs as part of a complete cycling support strategy.
Smart commute challenges and gamification
Tapping into people’s competitive nature builds buzz and makes smart commuting fun. Commuter challenges and gamification programs that offer prizes and perks to the winners are fantastic for getting people excited about participating, and community-wide challenges and gamification initiatives are also growing in popularity.
The easiest commute is the one that’s never made. If a commuter’s work duties can be completed off-site, giving employees support to work from home one or more days a week is an excellent option that delivers valuable flexibility your team members will appreciate.
Another important part of any sound commuter services strategy is to anticipate possible challenges or objections, and build in a solution. This is where guaranteed ride home programs can have a major impact. Commuters are more likely to try alternative modes (and stick to using them once they switch) if they know they have a fast, convenient way home in case of bad weather or an emergency.
Finally, design your program so it leverages the most powerful set of motivators: immediate rewards. These incentives can take multiple forms:
- A growing number of companies and organizations have used earn-a-bike programs to encourage commuters to adopt more active transportation modes. Commuters earn cash incentives or accumulate credit toward a free bike every time they log a smart commute.
- Parking cash-outs are another great motivator. Offer employees the chance to earn a monthly payout for voluntarily rescinding their parking privileges or agreeing to limit the number of times they use the spot in any given month.
- Recent changes to IRS tax codes have also increased the amount of pre-tax income eligible for commuting-related tax deductions. In addition to getting more people using qualified alternative modes of transportation, this strategy can also reduce employer payroll tax burdens.
The RideAmigos team can provide great ideas and a long list of commuter support services, including the ability to integrate these and other programs into a single, unified commuter management hub. Our industry-leading software platform is the ideal tool for planning, implementing, and administering commuter programs.
Get started today with a free program analysis, free commuter tips, or a comprehensive demo of our industry-leading commuter management software.