From Illinois Business Journal news services
RideFinders is asking area employers to adopt preferential parking to carpoolers to encourage alternate transportation options.
Hundreds of RideFinders carpoolers and vanpoolers in the St. Louis region are currently benefiting from preferential parking spots. Citigroup, Graybar, Commerce Bank, and Washington University School of Medicine, along with more than two dozen area employers advocate and reward ridesharing with convenient parking spaces.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is the most recent institution that has incorporated preferential parking for carpoolers to give students and staff more options in their commute, reduce the university’s carbon footprint, free up more parking spots and increase sustainability efforts.
“The university is dedicated to the needs of our students and employees, as well as being committed to protecting our environment,” said Bob Vanzo, the director of Administrative Services. “We are proud to join other institutions in the region that are offering preferential parking as an incentive to ridesharing. This initiative is beginning to resonate with commuters on our campus, and we hope other employers will adopt similar programs.”
Other regional employers that have implemented RideFinders preferential parking include: Alberici, Biomerieux, Christner, Cenveo Color-Art, Covidien, Lewis and Clark Community College (three campuses), Reckitt Benckiser, St. Louis Community College (Meramec and South County campuses), Special School District of St. Louis County, Southwestern Illinois College (Granite City and Belleville campuses), Trane, Nooter/Ericksen.
“Giving preferential parking to people who share rides is a simple gesture by an employer that will have long-term positive results for all parties,” said RideFinders Spokesman SJ Morrison. “Highly desirable parking in crowded areas saves time for the qualifying employees and rewards them for their sustainable practices. As more employees opt to rideshare, a company can reduce the demand for parking and operational costs associated with it, in addition to improving the environment.”
RideFinders, which works with more than 800 area employers, offers free reserved parking signs that are practical, but also give elevated status for the users and help increase awareness among non-users, the agency said.
RideFinders program information
RideFinders operates as a free public ridesharing service, organizing and promoting carpools, vanpools and schoolpools, for employers and commuters working in St. Louis City and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties in Missouri; and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois.
RideFinders is operated by Madison County Transit and is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program with support from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
RideFinders helps to eliminate 101,940 pounds of air pollution monthly, and 1,732,980 pounds of air pollution annually.
A vanpool is a group of commuters who share the ride in 15-passenger vans provided by RideFinders, with the monthly fare split equally among the riders based on mileage and number of passengers. Vanpools have a primary driver who travels for free in exchange for submitting a monthly mileage report. Vanpools are eligible for the Guaranteed Ride Home program that offers each commuter up to four $125 taxi rides home per year in the case of an emergency.
A carpool is two or more commuters who share the ride in their personal vehicles. Commuters either share the driving or, if one commuter does not have a vehicle, provide gas money to the commuter who drives. Carpools can be organized through RideFinders’ free matching service or can be existing to qualify for the program. All RideFinders carpool commuters are eligible for the GRH program.
The RideFinders Schoolpool program provides a free, secure matching service to help parents of participating K-12 schools carpool to and from school. Schoolpool participants are not eligible for the GRH program.
For more information about RideFinders, go to http://www.sharetheridestl.com/