From Illinois Business Journal news services
Officials with RideFinders say federal employees in the St. Louis region have added incentives this year to vanpool to work.
Starting this year, the monthly transit subsidy available to all federal employees who use public transit or vanpooling was increased from $130 to $255.
The subsidy was originally set up by the federal government to reduce their employees’ contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution. In the St. Louis region, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Veterans Affairs are just two of the agencies whose employees commute in RideFinders vans, and who are increasing the allowance in 2016 for their employees.
RideFinders is the St. Louis region’s free ridematching service,
A RideFinders vanpool is a group of four to 15 commuters from the same area who team up to share the ride to work in a van that is provided and maintained by RideFinders. One of the vanpoolers agrees to be the primary driver and gets to commute for free, while the riders each pay an equal part of the monthly fare to cover operating costs, which include insurance, gas and maintenance.
With a $255 monthly transportation benefit, federal employees have little or no expense. In addition, RideFinders offers a Guaranteed Ride Home Program, which gives each vanpooler up to four free taxi rides homes per year should emergencies occur. (Registered RideFinders carpoolers can also receive up to four free guaranteed rides home through its carpooling program.)
All federal employers in the St. Louis region have an onsite RideFinders Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) who can bring RideFinders to your workplace, explain the program and set up carpools or vanpools.
“Federal employees are now eligible for a free commute, so vanpooling with RideFinders is an easy decision,” said SJ Morrison, spokesperson for RideFinders. “Talk to your onsite ETC, or get in touch with us directly, to set up a new vanpool at your workplace, or so we can get you plugged into an existing van.”
Providing transportation subsidies to employees is not limited to federal agencies. There are many employers in the St. Louis region and throughout the country that provide a monthly subsidy, as a pre-tax benefit for employees using transit or vanpooling.
“RideFinders not only educates the region on the benefits of ridesharing, we also do the work to set up the carpools and vanpools and then provide the benefits,” said Morrison. “We are urging employers and employees who have an interest in supporting Sustainable Commuting to go to our website at RideFinders.org, or call 800-VIP-RIDE to get involved.”
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/