MBEP Smart Commuting Toolkit
How to begin:
Here is a detailed guide on how to begin, implement and manage your Smart Commuting program:
How you save and why you should consider tax-free benefits:
Your company can save on average 7.65% on payroll taxes.
Transit and eligible vanpooling: $265
Qualified commuter parking: $265
Mobility Labs ROI Calculator
Developed by LDA Consultants, this tool helps users calculate vehicle trips and miles travelled reduced by their smart commuting (aka TDM) programs and to calculate benefit-cost ratios or ROI. This spreadsheet-analysis method and a user manual for using it in your area may be downloaded here.
Smart Commuting Tools in Our Region
Go831: Go831 provides all of the tools under one platform for Monterey County. It is the one-stop source for all your commuting needs in Monterey County. Go831 Rideamigos is an online trip matching tool.
To access the tool:
- Visit Go831.rideamigos.com to sign-up or ask your employer for a participation link. Either way it’s free!
- Register with your email and password, and you’re ready to explore the site and learn more about your commuting options.
- For some helpful “How-To” videos visit: https://help.rideamigos.com/basic-user-help/how-to-videos/
Cruz 511: Cruz511 is a free traveler information service for up-to-the minute traffic, transit, bicycle and pedestrian information in Santa Cruz County via a mobile-responsive website. Cruz511 provides comprehensive, accurate, reliable and useful multimodal travel information. No sign up is necessary.
Ecology Action: Sustainable transportation programs for California.
San Benito Rideshare: Your gateway to commute choices in San Benito County
GPS on buses
MST RealTime: a set of tools (text, phone, app, and maps) that help you get real-time information about your next bus. MST RealTime is real easy.
Metro Stay Connected: riders Stay Connected with today’s schedule on demand at any bus stop or transit center, and receive real-time subscriber alerts to know whenever schedules are impacted on the routes they ride.
The development of transportation planning and trip planning tools has helped improve the way we commute today.
As an employer if you allow more than one employee to telecommute, treat it as a team activity rather than an individual one, whenever possible. Develop a team schedule, rather than an independent schedule, and a teleworking system that is consistent with the needs of the department and organization. Here are five best practices to help your team members maximize potential and create a successful telecommute option:
- Designate office space
- Establish work hours
- Find peak productivity
- Communicate early and often
- Prioritize mutual trust
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has provided a detailed list of how to create an Effective Teleworking Program here.
Did you know that telecommuting provides balance and allows employees to be more productive and happy at work. It is also cost effective and has a positive environmental impact. Did you also know that you save on office costs, rented space and can reduce the total cost of doing business by almost 30%. And lets not forget about productivity…if you are an employer who has 500 employees who work 2 days a week remotely and the average salary is $50K that is equivalent to an increased productivity of $1,950,000.
Cash for not parking
Free bike share
Looking for someone to carpool with?
Vanpools are fairly easy to set up through the following links:
A vanpool is like a carpool except it holds more people, typically a group of 5 to 15 people who commute to and from work together in a van or SUV while carpooling is the quickest and most convenient way to save on gas and reduce air pollution.
Bus Rapid Transit
MST provides bus service to the greater Monterey and Salinas areas as far south as Templeton and Big Sur and as far north as Santa Cruz and San Jose
Metro serving Santa Cruz and Watsonville as far north as Davenport in addition to San Lorenzo and Scotts Valley. Metro also provides the Hwy 17 that goes to San Jose Diridon Station and Downtown San Jose
Free/Discount bus passes
Group Discount Program – Group Discount Program provides 31 Day MST GoPasses at reduced costs.
ECO Pass Program – Coming this fall!
First mile / last mile
Emergency ride home
ADVOCACY FOR TRANSIT
Local policies and funding
How do I Sign Up?
There are two ways to sign up for an account with Jump:
Download the Jump Bikes app or the Uber app
Visit the website at app.socialbicycles.com
Create an account to start riding bike share. You need to be over 18 years of age and have a credit card to sign up. Next, check the Jump app to see where bikes are located. Find a bike and use your phone to scan the QR code to unlock. Once your information is accepted, the lock will unlock and you’re ready to ride.
Pay-as-you-go: $1 to unlock, then $0.15/minute
Monthly: $30/month for 60 minutes/day, then per minute rate after that
Boost low income plan: $5/month for 60 minutes/day, then per minute rate after that
Ride sharing offers active transportation, transport flexibility, reductions to vehicle emissions, health benefits, reduced congestion and fuel consumption, and financial savings for individuals.
Complete streets Santa Cruz County
Trails SC Cruz511
Trails SC TAMC
Bike racks and lockers SC
Bike racks and lockers MC
Available to rent at the Cannery Row Garage, 601 Wave Street and the Downtown East Garage, Washington and Del Monte. Lockers can be rented on a monthly or quarterly basis. Rates are $15.00 per month or $36.00 per quarter, there is a refundable key deposit of $10.00 and a lost key charge of $10.00.
Zero cost loans
If your employer is a member of the Ecology Action Transportation Membership, you are eligible for the Bike Loan Program.
Mythbusting: Alternative Modes of Transportation
Mythbuster 1: Why would I consider rideshare if I already have a car?
Well, you could share the ride with someone else. Save money on gas and meet a new co-worker. The average owner of a sedan has to shell out nearly $10,000 a year to own and operate a car, according to auto club AAA. Minimize your overall expenses, wear and tear by sharing rides through carpool and/or vanpool options.
Mythbuster 2: Do I have to do this everyday?
Nope, unless you would like too. Find someone for carpool or a group for vanpool who shares the same needs and/or schedule in close commuting proximity. Let’s look at it this way if you carpool just one day a week you will save money. The average American spends two out of every five dollars on auto-related expenses that is more than on food, and second only to housing. That and we all know that our time is valuable. If you spend 40 minutes a day driving to and from work, and you leave your car at home for just one day a week, you will have 32 1/2 extra hours per year to spend reading, daydreaming, etc.
Mythbuster 3: But what if I have an emergency and have to leave for any reason?
Employees who choose alternate modes of transportation can qualify for an Emergency Ride Home if your employer is a paying member of Ecology Action services and/or if you are a registered user of G0831. Some employers also offer their own Emergency ride home program. Find out here if you are an active member with either EA or through Go831.
Mythbuster 4: How am I supposed to know what mode of transportation is best for my commute?
Within our region we have some wonderful and easy to use planning tools. These tools allow commuters to choose alternative modes and routes, get real time updates and even log/track their commute. These tools can be accessed by anyone in the region and have an immediate positive impact in reducing a company’s contribution to daily commuters on the road. Most trip planners require users to sign up. Be sure to do so as more and more commute challenges arise and reward those who participate in prizes.
Mythbuster 5: If you’re asking me to use public transportation, it’s too expensive!
The cost of transit is typically related to the distance traveled. The Monterey-Salinas Transit Group Discount Program provides 31 Day MST GoPasses at reduced costs. Based on the number of GoPasses your organization orders, participants can enjoy substantially reduced costs – making riding the bus an outstanding benefit. The Santa Cruz Metro offers free passes to downtown employees. These passes are good for routes throughout Santa Cruz county.
Mythbuster 6: But the bus is always late!
Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones, access to transit information is in the palm of your hands. MST RealTime – a set of tools (text, phone, app, and maps) helps you get real-time information about your next bus. MST RealTime is real easy. For fiscal year 2019 MST had an on-time compliance of over 80% within 5 minutes of scheduled arrival.
Mythbuster 7: Riding the bus takes forever, how am I supposed to get work done?
Luckily each bus provides wifi to allow you to telework while commuting. Modern technology and software such as Skype, Zoom, etc. have made communication seamless to overcome these barriers.
Mythbuster 8: What incentives can be offered to me if I use a vanpool?
Your employer can offer you a tax free transit and vanpool benefit up to $265 per month for beginning January 1, 2019. If employees are offered this voucher the subsidy value will not appear on the W-2 form as income.
Mythbuster 9: It still costs to ride a vanpool.
If you were to share the cost of your commute through a vanpool with an 8 passenger van, travel of 50 miles to and from work, 5 days a week, you would have an annual savings of $5004, that is a cost savings of $156/mo.
Mythbuster 10: Okay, okay … but accessing these “other” modes of transportation is a problem as they are not close to my home. And what if I have to run an errand on one of my breaks?
You have several options! Ride hailing from companies like Lyft or Uber are great options. You can ride your bike as most transit locations offer bike lockers and/or have bike racks equipped on their buses. Another option within Santa Cruz city limits is Jump Bike, an easy to use bike share program. Vanpool companies are also open to adding bike racks to their vans for your convenience.
Mythbuster 11: My employer has given me the option of telecommuting however they are worried about security and privacy.
First and foremost, keep your laptop and devices close and never leave them alone. Secure your devices with good passwords and encryption on laptops. Installing mobile device management apps such as AirWatch and MaaS360 give employees a chance of securing and recovering lost mobile phones or tablets.
Click on the images below to see how smart commuting programs are being implemented in our region and beyond.