From Illinois Business Journal news services
ST. LOUIS – Carpoolers are not taking full advantage of available benefits, according to the 2015 Where We Stand report produced by the East West Gateway Council of Governments.
The report, which compares St. Louis to the 50 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States, says that only 7.2 percent of workers in the area carpool to work, which puts the region 47th in the rankings. About 83 percent of workers in St. Louis drive alone to work, which places the area 8th in the rankings, and above the United States average of 76.4 percent. The report says that 2.9 percent of workers in the area commute by public transportation, which places the St. Louis region 24th in the rankings.
The numbers can be improved, according to a spokesman for RideFinders, the metropolitan, free ridesharing service, which has long been a part of promoting alternative modes.
“These numbers illustrate that about 10 percent of St. Louis is carpooling or using public transit,” said RideFinders spokesman SJ Morrison. “That’s a solid base of commuters who are realizing the benefits of using alternative transportation modes – but we can’t stay at 10 percent – it’s important for us as a region to build on that foundation.”
RideFinders, whose goal is to save commuters money, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, is a free public service that matches commuters through a free online ridematching program, and provides benefits for registered carpoolers. RideFinders’ primary benefit is the Guaranteed Ride Home,which provides registered carpoolers and vanpoolers with up to four free taxi rides home annually in the event of an emergency. This program offers commuters the peace of mind that a free, direct ride home is available if needed. RideFinders’ seamless GRH program is voucher based, eliminating the need for commuters to pay for the ride and be reimbursed.
“While we currently have 12,000 registered commuters in the RideFinders database, we know there are carpoolers who are not registered and as a result, are not enjoying the benefits,” said Morrison.
Registration is free, secure and easy, he said.
“The more commuters in the system, the more opportunities there are for people to connect and create carpools,” he said.
Individuals who would like to register a carpool, search for a commuter to carpool with or learn more about the RideFinders program can visit www.SharetheRideSTL.com, call 1-800-VIP-RIDE or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Jersey, Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois.
The organization 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.
For more information about RideFinders, go to http://www.sharetheridestl.com/
To see details about the Where We Stand Study, go to: http://www.ewgateway.org/pdffiles/library/wws/wws2015-Transportation.pdf