Commuter Benefits are provided by an employer to support and incentivize employees, and they are integral for a comprehensive and competitive benefits package. A commuter benefits program goes hand in hand with work-life balance, corporate citizenship and sustainability, and supports employee health and wellness.
Sharpening Your Competitive Edge
Put yourself in the shoes of a commuter. Does your organization provide options? All employees get to work—but whether their commute is easy or difficult, inexpensive or costly, comfortable or frustrating, often depends on the options their employers offer.
Unfortunately, the jobs-housing imbalance in Santa Barbara County forces many employees to live and work in separate communities. Offering commuter benefits allows you to recruit and retain the best talent for your organization, by increasing the size of your labor pool and easing the cost and stress of their commute.
Of course, many people see no alternative to driving. But with a little effort and imagination, you can help your employees make choices that benefit them, your company, and our beautiful community.
A Customized Solution
When setting the course for your business, it helps to look at what other successful businesses in your area are doing. We can help connect you to businesses who have pioneered the way for the business community at large to realize success in planning for growth, employee retention, fostering community integration, and engendering corporate responsibility and sustainability.
- Check out the “Local Profiles” section of our site to peruse case studies and internal marketing collateral for companies that we are working with to support commuter benefits programs of all sizes.
- Attend one of the many mixers that occur during the year such as the Green Business Program’s luncheon and mixer hosted by the Marriott in Buellton or the Bicycle Friendly Business Mixer last hosted by SONOS in Santa Barbara.
What Drives You
Every company’s motivation is different. What would you like to accomplish?
- Meet corporate responsibility and sustainability goals
- Improve employee morale and increase your hiring power
- Satisfy City TDM requirements and development compliance documents
- Work toward your Green Business certification
- Reduce parking costs and neighborhood traffic impacts
- Take advantage of IRS Commuter Benefits
Scaling to Your Business Size
Whether you are a large business of 500 employees or a small “Mom & Pop Shop,” there are many options for setting up a benefits program that fits your needs.
- Example for a small business – create a secure space for bike parking
- Example for a large business – enact a telecommuting policy to save on office space and car trips
Commuter benefits can be rolled out in stages as your needs change. Knowing where you are now and setting goals for where you want to be is a formula for success!
- We’ll assess what you have in place right now and help you set goals for the types of benefits you’d like to offer in the future.
- We’ll help you figure out a host of commuter benefits that can be launched in the short term.
The Benefits Portfolio
A benefits portfolio is typically designed to support your employees, whether they live 60 miles away or 2 miles away. The best package to offer is innovative and depends on your employees’ unique needs. Tried and true ideas include the following.
- Pre-tax deductions for transit fares (bus, train, and vanpool) – employees save money and employers can reduce payroll taxes
- Alternative/flexible schedules (9/80, 4/10)
- Flexible work start and end times (outside the rush hour)
- Extra vacation time for using sustainable transportation
- Regular prize drawings and announcements
- Ability to telecommute (part-time or full-time)
- Discounted or free transit passes
- Parking cash-out (choice of cash instead of free parking spot)
- Earn-a-Bike program
- Carpool or vanpool cash or cash-equivalent incentives
- Preferential carpool/vanpool parking
- Quality bike racks (please consult us)
- Secure bike parking (lockers, secured-access area)
- Showers and clothes lockers
- Subsidy for non-motorized transport (walking shoes, bike maintenance, etc.)
- Company shuttle between transit stops and the office
- Company vehicles for carpools or midday errands
- Company bike fleet for meetings and personal errands
- Bicycle education and skills class arranged for employees
Sometimes folks need guidance in realizing the many benefits that commuting can provide… and then a bit of inspiration to keep up the good effort. Here are some ways to help feed the fire.
- Consider offering an “Earn-A-Bike” program in which employees earn credit toward the purchase of a bike. Providing good infrastructure such as bike parking and showers will help remove barriers to forming good habits.
- Hold friendly competitions or get your organization involved in CycleMAYnia – the team-based Bike Challenge and events like bike to work breakfasts create camaraderie and culture during CycleMAYnia Bike Month.