Transit sees in jump in ridership, while drive-alone commuting declines
You would think that when a major business district like Downtown Seattle experiences an increase in jobs bringing more commuters to the city center, you would also see an increase in drive-alone traffic.
Not so, according to survey results reported by Commute Seattle, a not-for-profit Transportation Management Association which, in addition to collecting commuting trends data, also manages a program for employers to maximize use of transit services for employees, as well as providing employer resources about commuter benefits.
According to their data, drive-alone commuting dropped to 25% from 30% the previous year. You may or may not know, but drive-alone commuting is the number one reason cause for traffic congestion across the country.
This result reveals the biggest decrease in single-occupancy vehicle commuters since they began collecting data in 2010. Meanwhile, transit ridership among downtown Seattle workers jumped to 47%.
How did they do it?
A variety of factors to manage traffic flow worked together to maximize all the region’s transportation options. The results of the recent reports were attributed to the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Commute Trip Reduction Program, a concentrated effort between the city, state, and Seattle employers to provide guidance on the choices of transportation modes including, walking, cycling, transit, carpooling, and telecommuting.
When city, state, and transportation agencies work together with employers to manage travel options for commuters, the results benefit everyone. We’re proud that commuter benefits continue to play a crucial part in these positive trends.
In addition to reducing congestion on our roadways, a pre-tax commuter benefit program allows employees to reduce their commuting costs by up to 40%, while employers save 7.65% on payroll taxes.
How can Edenred help
So, how can you offer commuter benefits to employees?
Start by going straight to the experts: your current employees, business owners in your network, and your benefits provider. Ask your employees if commuter benefits would be beneficial for them, and depending on your budget, if it would make sense to cut things like retirement, time-off or health care benefits. Gauging their interest will give you a better sense of how essential this benefit feels and help you determine how much you can spend per employee.
Next, if your office building is home to other businesses, speak with them. Ask how they’re handling commuter expenses and/or parking specific to your area. For example, some office buildings may only have one parking option, while others will have multiple such as street parking, parking lots, and garages. Determine if there’s any wiggle room to negotiate lower prices for employees.
Lastly, get current employees on board and spread the word to job applicants. Keep employees in the loop by holding meetings and sending out reminders to discuss what’s being offered. For recruiting purposes, be sure to highlight this perk on job posts as one of your top benefits to draw attention and attract top talent!
If you’d like to learn more about commuter benefits, schedule a meeting with us so we can discuss the options that will be best for you and your employees.