In addition to numerous mass transit options, tenants and residents of Hacienda have a variety of commute alternatives. While often these alternatives provide a faster and less expensive commute, many find the concern over lost flexibility and the possibility of being caught in an emergency situation where an immediate ride is needed outweighs the benefits of the alternative. The Alameda County Congestion Management Agency (CMA) Guaranteed Ride Home Program is set up to provide a safety net for commuters to help them deal with unplanned occurrences-such as the need to pick up a sick child from daycare-while maintaining the benefits of alternatives to driving their car to work.
The purpose of the Guaranteed Ride Home program is to motivate people to use an alternative form of transportation by providing them with a guarantee that they will not be stranded in an emergency. Alternative transportation modes include taking the bus, train or ferry, carpooling or vanpooling, and walking or bicycling. In the event that a participant's means of transportation fails-missing a ride in a carpool for example-the Guaranteed Ride Home ensures that the participant will be able to get to his or her destination.
The Guaranteed Ride Home Program recently added the option of letting participants use a free rental car in case of unexpected transportation needs. Previously, participants would get a voucher that could be used to take a free taxi ride. "Many of the people in the Tri-Valley live more than 20 miles away from their work site," says Kara Vuicich, program manager for the Guaranteed Ride Home Program. "It can be much more convenient and comfortable to use a rental car than a taxi, especially when you're traveling long distances." The Alameda County CMA Guaranteed Ride Home Program has made arrangements with Enterprise Rent-a-Car to both drop the car off and pick the car up at the participant's workplace. "It's just as convenient as a taxi. In addition, participants can use the rental car to make as many stops as they want and run any errands they need to," Vuicich says. When using a taxi instead of a rental car, users are allowed one intermediate stop that's related to their crisis. "Because of the cost of the taxi rides, we have to limit how many stops people can make. We don't have to worry about that limitation with the rental cars," Vuicich says.
By providing "insurance" for participants' commute, the the Alameda County CMA Guaranteed Ride Home Program provides excellent support for commute alternatives. In 1998, Hacienda was named as a major work site for the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency's Guaranteed Ride Home program. As a result of this designation, all Hacienda employers, regardless of the size of the company, are eligible for the program. For more information about the Alameda County CMA Guaranteed Ride Home Program and details about registering, visit the Hacienda web site at www.hacienda.org/services/services_commute_grh.html or call the Hacienda Owners Association at 925-734-6500. Alternately, you can call the program's hotline number, at 510-433-0320, or contact Kara Vuicich by email at email@example.com.
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