It's a difficult situation for any commuter: being called away at mid-day to deal with a family emergency, several hours before their carpool is scheduled to depart. Returning home can be inconvenient and expensive for many people in that situation, but it doesn't have to be that way for Hacienda employees who are enrolled in the Alameda County CMA Guaranteed Ride Home program, which offers a free taxi ride or rental car to those who have used a commute alternative if they are called away from work unexpectedly. Best of all, any Hacienda company is entitled to participate in the program free of charge.
The program is designed to provide quick transportation for those who need it. Individuals registered in Guaranteed Ride Home are issued a voucher which entitles them to a free ride home in a taxi or rental car if they or an immediate family member comes down with a sudden illness or is involved in some other crisis; if they are needed to work unscheduled overtime (supervisor authorization is required); or their ridesharing vehicle breaks down or its driver has to stay late or leave early, as long as they have used an alternate means of commute that day. There are a number of commute alternatives that are eligible: buses, trains, ferries, carpools, vanpools, walking, or bicycling. The only costs for the ride home are a tip for the taxi driver (10 to 15 percent is customary) or gasoline for the rental car.
Enrolling in Guaranteed Ride Home is simple and easy for both companies and individual commuters. Employers are required to designate a contact person within the company to help distribute program information and to keep "instant enrollment" forms on hand and to complete an employer registration form. Employees need to fill out an enrollment form and complete a liability waiver. While there are a few limitations to the program - it can only be used six times per calendar year, for example, and the program may not be used for things like personal errands, pre-planned medical appointments, or anticipated overtime - that's all there is to it.
For additional information on the program or for enrollment materials, contact the Alameda County CMA Guaranteed Ride Home hotline at (510) 433-0320 or access their web site at www.grh.accma.ca.gov .
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