Should I Care How My Employees Get to Work?
Yes! There are many reasons businesses start transportation programs, including:
Reducing demand for employee parking spaces,
Creating affordable employee benefits,
Improving employee productivity, attendance, and on-time arrival,
Reaching a wider labor pool and retaining employees,
Taking advantage of state and federal tax breaks,
Tackling congestion and environmental concerns as a community leader,
Complying with the Commute Trip Reduction law,
Reducing your tax burden -- check out Commuter Choice benefits and see how you can save money while helping employees pay for transit and vanpooling.
How Does it Help the Employee?
Successful transportation programs work because employees reap several benefits:
- Dependable, affordable transportation to and from work,
- Less wear-and-tear on their cars,
- More money in their pockets - thanks to lower commuting costs,
- More time to relax, read or chat during their commutes,
- Arriving on time without the stress of fighting traffic congestion or circling the parking lot,
- Feeling good about keeping their cars at home and the air a little cleaner, and
- Potential tax savings.
What can I do?
Promote commute options.
- Offer an emergency ride home program.
- Consider subsidizing transit passes and vanpool fares. Up to $100 per month per employee is a tax free benefit you can offer your employees.
We'll help you design a program that offers bus riding, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, bicycling and other commute options for your employees. We'll provide transportation events to help you promote this employee benefit. And, we'll provide you with the promotional materials you need.
How Do I Get Started?
Step 1: Choose an Employee Transportation Coordinator
An employee transportation coordinator (ETC) is a liaison between your company or agency and Intercity Transit. ETCs have many functions, including acting as your company's in-house resource for developing and managing a transportation program and motivating workers to make the most of Intercity Transit services.
All new ETCs attend a training session that introduces them to alternative commute options such as carpooling, vanpooling, transit, biking, walking and teleworking.
Step 2: Survey Your Employees
Before you begin any commute program, you first need to learn how employees are currently getting to work and which commute alternatives are of interest to them. T His information will help you tailor your program to the needs of employees and give it a much better chance of success.
Step 3: Choose a Program
Based on what you learn from your surveys can help you find the program that will best fit your company.
Step 4: Decide Whether or Not to Subsidize
Whether or not to subsidize is a big decision. Offering a subsidy is a proven way to motivate employees to use alternative commute options.
The Commuter Choice benefit allows employers to give their workers up to $100 per month to cover transit or vanpool fares as a tax-free benefit. Alternatively, employers can allow employees to pay for commuter choice benefits with a pre-tax payroll deduction or a combination of the two. No matter who pays, both will save.
Under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the Federal Government offers tax incentives to increase the use of public transit or vanpools to and from the workplace.
As of January 1, 2002, up to $100 per month in non-taxable and/or pre-tax dollars may be set aside to pay for transit or vanpool fares. This results in lower payroll taxes for both the business and the worker. Further business tax deductions for transportation programs may be applicable.
Step 5: Spread the Word
Intercity Transit has a host of free materials to help you get the word out about commute options. Our website is a good source of information, too. We'll even come to your worksite and provide a Smart Commute Fair for your employees!
Want More Information?
Call Intercity Transit. Visit Thurston Commutes, www.fta.dot.gov; or www.irs.ustreas.gov.