New Regulations Expand Benefits Available Through Commuter Choice Program

Commuter Choice is an innovative federal tax program that allows employers the opportunity to offer their employees excellent financial incentives to commute to work using alternative transportation modes including buses, trains and vanpools.

Now, the benefits of Commuter Choice are even better.

Beginning January 1, 2002, employees enrolled in their company's Commuter Choice plan can divert $100 per month of their paycheck, up from $65 per month, to a pre-tax fund to help with the costs of commuting.

The savings in Commuter Choice for employees and employers are substantial. Employees can save as much as $480 annually in taxes by using the maximum $100 per month benefit. Employers can save up to $100 per employee per year for those employees fully participating.

There are two excellent programs at Hacienda, WageWorks and Commuter Check, that aid employers' use of Commuter Choice and employees' participation in Commuter Choice. Whichever plan you choose, you'll save money, time and enjoy a pleasant, relaxing commute.


With WageWorks, commuters can directly purchase transit passes for a variety of buses and trains, along with paid parking and van pool services on a simple payroll-deducted basis. WageWorks mails passes directly to your home.

Vanpool options through WageWorks simplify commuting as WageWorks pays the vanpool provider directly. Riders have the opportunity then to take advantage of the tax savings, enjoy a stress-free commute and avoid the paper hassle.

WageWorks enrollment is right over the phone and enrolled Hacienda employees receive a special discount. The program is convenient and employees manage their own accounts online. WageWorks ties in directly to their company's payroll system.

Jim Reed, vice-president of marketing for WageWorks, says that his company's focus is to relieve the administrative burden on employers and to standardize employee benefits for all the company's employees no matter where they are located in the United States.

You can reach WageWorks, toll-free, at (877) 924-3967 or (650) 373-2900.

Commuter Check

Commuter Check also offers all of the dollar benefits as provided by Commuter Choice for transit and vanpools. With Commuter Checks, vouchers purchased from enrolled employers are redeemed for mass transit fares. Vouchers come in denominations from $20 to $50. Regular and occasional transit riders use Commuter Checks to buy tickets, tokens and passes for buses, trains and ferries, and to pay monthly vanpool fares. Commuter Checks work for any transit agency or vanpool.

Stuart Baker, the west coast regional manager for Commuter Check, says that the $100 transit benefit is an excellent commuter incentive and the tax savings are substantial. He noted that the program is easy to administer and benefits both the employers and employees.

If you would like more information on Commuter Check, call the information line at (510) 601-1403.

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