Published March 21, 2000
Volume 8, Number 3

RIDES Offers New Program for Businesses to Encourage Commute Alternatives

Your Zip code could be your ticket to ride as RIDES For Bay Area Commuters has an interesting new program for employers to help make commuting easier for their Hacienda Business Park employees. The result is that co-workers could carpool or vanpool with their hometown neighbors.

"The program gives employers another tool to help their employees find a better way to commute," says Carolyn Helmke, RIDES regional coordinator. "This program will make it easier for co-workers to carpool or vanpool together and save time and money on their commute. If the employer works with them to find an easier commute, workers will be happy, which helps with employee retention." 

The program begins when an employer gives RIDES the Zip codes of all its employees and RIDES makes a computerized map showing where everyone lives. 

RIDESThen, armed with the map and a blizzard of helpful information about transportation alternatives, RIDES representatives go on-site to the company and present an informal brown bag seminar or lunch time event for employees. 

Working one on one with interested employees, RIDES staff tells them about co-workers who live near them--something they may not have known--and explains commute alternatives such as vanpools, carpools, biking, buses, ACE and BART. 

The brown-bag gatherings set the stage for new and continuing dialogue among workers who now have information that could help make their commutes easier.

Helmke said that people often need a little coaxing, but are usually pleased once they settle into an commute alternative.

"People love it," she said. "It's a lot cheaper and easier, especially if they have a long commute. People who bike are happy to get the exercise, those who take BART are happy to read and relax."

Helmke understands that we are all creatures of habit and we prize our independence, and that often people resist commute alternatives because of some very real issues. "People are often concerned if they carpool or vanpool about issues like, will there be smoking allowed, the use of perfume, and some people just don't want to talk early in the morning." RIDES gives people ways to work out these issues in a carpool or vanpool setting so everyone feels content. 

Spring Promotion Underway
To encourage use of commute alternatives, the annual RIDES Spring Promotion began March 1 and ends on Earth Day, April 22. 

If people sign up and pledge to give alternative commutes a try, even just once, during that period they're entered in a drawing to win $1,000 and many fine prizes, including a Birkenstock gift certificate, tickets to Raging Waters/San Jose or Paramount's Great America, or gift certificates to Fresh Choice restaurant or an enzyme bath and blanket wrap at Osmosis Enzyme Bath and Massage in Freestone. 

In addition, participants get free goodies just for signing up and requesting a matchlist of other interested commuters.

More Information 
To sign up for RIDES Spring Promotion or to obtain information on other programs, simply access their web site at www.rides.org or call 800-755-POOL. Entries for the Spring Promotion must be received by April 28.

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