Published April 17, 2007
Volume 15, Number 4

It Pays to Carpool: 511 Rideshare Kicks Off Rewards Program

Frustrated by sitting in traffic?  Higher gas prices making you cringe? You can save yourself from these irritants by joining a carpool through the 511 Regional Rideshare Program, the free Web and phone service that helps match commuters for carpools and vanpools.  If you sign up with Rideshare, you can earn money for gas or Safeway gift cards, and have a chance at winning a $1,000 cash prize.

The Rideshare Rewards program, piloted in May 2006-2007, was expanded for 2007 due to last year’s success.  511 Rideshare Project Manager Tad Widby says that 700 people are currently in the program.  Hacienda businesses that participate in the program include employees from Kaiser Permanente, Oracle and Zenith Insurance.

“We are very pleased with the results from last year.  511 saved drivers $85,000 in fuel costs, reduced vehicle miles by 1.5 million, and reduced 1.6 million pounds of greenhouse gasses,” Widby states.  His goal is to increase the number of new carpoolers and he hopes to sign up 800 to 1,000 during the campaign that runs now through October 31, 2007.

The program awards new carpoolers $10 in gas or Safeway gifts cards for every five days they carpool, up to $100.  One lucky participant who carpools at least 40 days during the rewards period will win a $1,000 cash prize.   Eligible participants are workers from the nine-county Bay Area who are drive-alone commuters and who have not carpooled for more than one week during the previous three months before switching to carpooling. Carpoolers who participate for 90 consecutive days during the program period earn the rewards.

Added this year is a bonus contest called Spin the Wheel.  Rideshare Rewards 2006-2007 and 2007 carpoolers can spin the wheel weekly for prizes, as long as they carpool once a week.  Premium gifts include Peet’s Coffee and Tea drinks, gas cards and a GLOBE City Bicycle.

Though new vanpools are not eligible for the Rewards Program, 511 offers an incentive program awarding $300 to $900 in gas cards to new vans that meet all eligibility requirements and successfully complete three to nine consecutive months of operation.

According to Widby, the number of commuters willing to carpool continues to climb, and 511 Rideshare can make it easy for you to do the same.  “With gas prices rising and traffic congestion increasing, 511’s service is there to help workers find easy ways to get to work and get into carpools and vans,” he explains.  “It’s a great way to beat traffic congestion, high gas prices and global warming.”

The benefits of ridesharing do not stop with the special 511 programs.  All projects in Hacienda have preferred parking stalls for carpools and vanpools.  Located conveniently close to building entries, these stalls are available to all Hacienda carpoolers and vanpoolers with an identifying sticker.  Stickers can be obtained online at
www.hacienda.org/services/services_commute_carpool.html, or by calling (925) 734-6500.

For more information about the Rideshare Rewards program, including eligibility rules and participation guidelines, visit the program website at www.511.org and click on the 511 Rideshare Rewards icon, or call 511 and say “rideshare” to speak with a commuter consultant.

511 Rideshare is a free service funded by the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and county congestion management agencies. 


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