Friday, October 4, 2013

Transportation Tips: Take Charge of Your Commute

This week, we're going to echo a few wise words that both the Riverside County Transportation Commission and San Bernardino Associated Governments have long advocated for:

Rideshare

October has traditionally been the month where local transportation agencies market ridesharing to area commuters to cut down on traffic congestion. Getting yourself into a carpool is not easy and takes some time and firm commitments. Be willing to sacrifice a few hours to learn what your commute options are. Stop making excuses and take charge of your drive, even if it's just one day per week. Ridesharing involves heading to work or your destination using any means except driving solo in a car. Your fuel bill will be significantly cut. Form a carpool and hop into the carpool lane for free including the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego County. Team up with 3 or more and enjoy huge toll discounts aboard the 91 Express Lanes with any FasTrak account including toll free travel in the westbound lanes. Explore your RTA, Omnitrans, and Metrolink options and see if the bus or train fits into your work schedule. Check out the guaranteed ride home programs that are offered. Even if your route is totally car-centric, see if the park-and-walk model works for you by parking offsite and walking the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the trip.

And it's not just going work. If you're headed to a social function, a meeting, company convention, or anything else, see if anybody else living in your area is headed to the same event and organize a casual carpool. By choosing to rideshare, you can reduce traffic congestion. For everyday commuters, RCTC and SANBAG have set up this system through the IE511 commuter website:

Step 1: Find out how much ridesharing can save you.
Use the calculator on this page and see how much money you can save.

Step 2: Find a carpool or vanpool.
IE 511 Commuter Services can help you find a carpool or vanpool arrangement that matches your route and schedule. Also get information about Carpool Lanes and Park and Ride lots to streamline your commute.

Step 3: See if you are eligible for any commuter incentives.
Want a tax break? IE 511Commuter Incentives to try ridesharing are available to employees at participating employers. You could be eligible for a $2/day incentive, a $400 a month ongoing vanpool subsidy, an incentive to start a vanpool, and the Rideshare Plus Rewards Program that offers coupons for dining and shopping discounts if you are already ridesharing. Just call 1-866-RIDESHARE (1-866-743-3742) for more information.

In addition to the 511 service, check out the vast ridesharing options all throughout the marketplace. You may be surprised to learn what you're options may be.

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