Monday, September 29, 2008

Best Practices - Dealing With Gas Prices & Commuting

City of Des MoinesImage via Wikipedia
As the price of oil careens up and down with each new turn on the economy roller coaster we are riding, one thing has stayed consistent. The price of gas at the pump has stayed higher this year than it was at the beginning of 2008.

I know this first hand: my daily round trip commute of 80 miles sucks the gas from my tank, and several thousand dollars a year from my wallet, despite driving a 4 cylinder Saab 9/3 that gets almost 30 MPH on the highway.

What are employers doing to help their employees fight this?

FinancialWeek reports that employers are using a variety of approaches, including telecommuting (14% of employers), compressed work weeks (23%) car pooling (20%), and subsidizing public transportation (18%). One of my old employers, Genencor, a division of Danisco AS, provided subsidized BART cards for their employees travelling from San Francisco to their Palo Alto campus. Genencor also has several cars on campus which can be signed out for use to run errands or take travel on local business without needing to drive your personal vehicle if you prefer to commute.

Other employer and their best practices highlighted from the FinancialWeek article include:

  • Bank of America offers a $3,000 stipend to subsidize the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

  • Prinicpal Financial of Des Moines, Iowa works with the local transit authority to provide free rides by showing their company ID.

  • F5 Networks of Seattle pays anyone who bikes to work or uses public transportation $300 for each month they do so. This has reduced those driving to work by 50%!

  • Pitney Bowes of Stanford, Connecticut provides a company shuttle 4 times and hour during the morning and evening commutes to take employees to the train station. They also use compressed work weeks, and flexible schedules.

  • Microsoft has their own private bus system in Redmond, Washington to take the 39,000 employees at their headquarters to work.

  • STS Telecom of Cooper City, Florida reimburses employees for a portion of their daily commute, about $2 per gallon on average.


What best practices does your company use?We would love to hear some more. Please post in the comments and they will be shared in the coming days!

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