Tag Archives: carpool

Ride. Better. Together

14 Jul

The “summer of hell” as it has been called on social media, has begun. The scheduled Amtrak Penn Station repairs will impact NJ Transit which in turn will impact the daily commute to NY Penn Station. Some commuters have been considering driving into NY during this time.  The drive into NY is already busy and there is a lot of traffic, adding more cars to the road would make it even worse. So… if you do choose to drive why not consider carpooling?

Carpooling helps reduce traffic, and you’ll spend less on gas, reduce the wear and tear and miles on your car, and improve air quality. You can carpool as much or as little as you want, you do not have to carpool every day.  You can get started by accessing NJ’s largest commuter network – NJ Rideshare.  All you have to do is register, and search the database for partners.  If you can’t find partners, contact your local TMA for help and while you’re talking to them make sure to register for the Emergency Ride Home program, a program that will ensure you get a free lift home if you ever have to leave work early or need to stay late.

You can watch this short video to see how you can Ride.Better.Together

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA_P8dPIrFI

Get started at www.njrideshare.com

NJ Rideshare is a partnership of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the eight non-profit Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) serving New Jersey. Contact the TMA in the county in which you work for assistance.

 

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5 Ways Employers Can Make Commuting Less Stressful for Their Employees

24 Feb

New Jersey commuters know congestion too well. NJ has five of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the nation and that costs commuters millions of dollars and lots of stress.  And long, stressful commutes can translate into the loss of productivity and unhappy employees.

So if you are looking for ways to make life easier for employees, here are 5 things you can do and we at GMTMA can help you get started:

  1. Encourage ridesharing

A carpool is a group of two or more employees driving to work together. Let your employees know about carpooling and encourage them to carpool at least once a week.  GMTMA has a free carpool matching service, can help you determine the potential for carpooling, and we can help you talk to your employees about it.

  1. Free van to transit

Many employees would like to take transit but face the “last mile” problem; they have no way to get to the office from transit. The solution to that is an employer-sponsored van that can run in the morning bringing employees to the office and in the afternoon bringing employees to transit.  To make it more affordable see if you can partner with other businesses near you. We can help with that too.

  1. Encourage bicycling

If a free van to transit is not feasible, encourage employees to bicycle from transit to the office. Employees are more likely to bike to work when they have access to showers, bicycle racks, and bike repair tool stations. The IRS permits employers to reimburse up to $20/month for reasonable expenses related to commuting by bicycles.

  1. Incentivize employees not to drive

Offer a financial reward to employees who do no drive. Offer transit, vanpool and bicycle commuting tax benefits.

  1. Help employees form a vanpool

Vanpools consist of 7-15 people, and the van can be leased by a third party vendor.  NJ Transit offers a Vanpool Sponsorship Program of $175 per month to form vanpool where public transportation is not available.  GMTMA can help you with setting up a vanpool.

Your local Transportation Management Association can help you get started. TMAs offer programs and services to help employers reduce costs and congestion.  Here is a sample of what TMAs can do for your business: http://www.gmtma.org/pg-employers-programs-and-services.php

Love Yourself – Make Your Commute Better

11 Feb

The average American spends more than 50 minutes each day commuting to and from work.  If you live in NJ and commute to NY or Philadelphia, you probably spend more than 50 minutes one way.  This can add up and over time can have an impact on your health and your relationships.  From increased levels of stress to not having enough time to exercise and not being able to spend enough time with your family, all of this can take a toll on your health and well-being.

Image shared from http://www.ny-muse.com/

Image shared from http://www.ny-muse.com/

When it comes to commuting, shorter is better. But if you don’t have that option how about making  it easier?

Here are a few suggestions:

  •  See if it is possible to work from home when the weather is bad, alleviating the uncertainty that we all feel when traveling in less than perfect conditions.    See if you can carpool or vanpool with someone from work. Sharing the ride will relieve the stress of driving every day.  (We can help you look for a carpool)
  •  If you take public transit, you can spend commuting time reading, listening to music, or listening to a podcast.   Click here for a list of popular podcasts.
  • Try to commute at alternate times so you can avoid the heaviest traffic and shorten your commute time.
  • Be an active commuter. Research shows that people who walk or bike to work are happier than people who drive.  If your commute is long, you can try biking or walking part of the way and then taking public transit. (We can help with that too)

We hope this helps! If you have any tips on how you make your commute easier please let us know, we would love to share them on our blog.

Sources:

https://www.psychologies.co.uk/how-enjoy-your-commute
http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/mind-and-soul/9-ways-to-turn-your-commute-into-me-time/ss-CCr0bK#image=1
http://www.femalenetwork.com/health-wellness/ways-to-love-your-commute

The Shared Use Economy Booms…. (carpooling, not so much)

14 Aug

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It’s almost impossible not to hear a news report or read an article about the boom in the shared use economy.  In fact, there’s a good chance you’re participating in it.  Uber, Lyft, RelayRides, Airbnb, are all examples of the huge growth in the sharing economy.

The concept is rooted in sustainability. Pool resources and it’s better for the environment and your finances.  It’s socially responsible.  It’s everything we learned in kindergarten…be nice and share!

And who were the early adopters of the sharing economy?  Carpoolers! Using that decidedly simple way to commute to work while saving money and reducing emissions.

And yet, in a report just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Who Drives to Work? Commuting by Automobile in the United States:2013, the rate of carpooling  is shown as declining during each decade since 1980. About 9.0 percent of workers carpooled in 2013, down from 19.7 percent in 1980.  During this same time period, the number of people commuting by car increased to a peak of almost 88% in 2000 and has remained relatively stable since, dropping to just 86% in 2013.  Approximately 76% of those people are driving alone.  That leaves a lot of unused seating capacity out on our roads.

Ironic, given the current interest in all things shared, the rate of carpooling is falling.  It’s a statistic we’d love to see turnaround.  Try asking your co-worker or spouse if they want to share the ride.  If you need help finding a carpool partner just contact gmtma.org and register to find a carpool partner in our statewide database.  We make it easy and we offer a rewards program too!

Carpooling…the name may sound old school, but the concept is definitely not.

One Car Family

13 Mar

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For the past 6 years, we have been a one car family. We are fortunate enough to live in an area where it is relatively easy to walk to the train station and to work. It takes me 40 minutes to walk to work and it takes 30 minutes for my husband to walk to the train station.

Most of the time we are carpooling and I’ll admit that it requires planning, maintaining a calendar and consulting with each other when we make appointments that require a car trip.  Life and work is not always that predictable and sometimes we do need to stray from the schedule.

What if you both need the one car at the same time? Then there is the carshare option.  In West Windsor there is Zipcar at the train station.  Once you sign up for membership, download their app, and you can reserve a car for $8.50/ hour or $69 for the day.

Zipcar twice a month – $1,656/year, plus the membership fee $50/year, total = $1,706

Where to get Zipcars and how much it costs? Click here

Where to download app? Click here 

If Zipcars or another carshare option are not available, there is also the car rental option. Depending on what rental you use it can cost between $30/day and more than $100/day. Renting a car twice a month could cost up to $200.

If you want to compare that to the cost of owning a car you can check this 2014 AAA study. The answer is somewhere between $8,000 and $9,000.

And there is always the option of biking!

What happens when your car breaks down, you are stranded and your significant other does not have a car to come pick you up? You will have to plan ahead for this eventuality. Either get a AAA membership or make sure your car insurance emergency road side assistance includes rentals reimbursement, towing and pick up. You will have to check with your insurance for the procedure and phone numbers you have to call. Make sure you have those phone numbers handy.

Since the grocery stores are not as accessible for us, the shopping trips are reserved for the weekends. We are also planning for this by maintaining a shared grocery list and updating throughout the week, this way limiting the shopping trips. You can download an app for that, we use Out of Milk.  Another option could be a cargo bike.  One of my co-workers recently began using one and had been known to carry a pretty significant amount of shopping in the bike’s baskets!

Along the way we encountered a few people trying to sell us their used cars because they felt bad for us.  We did not make this choice out of necessity and I am aware this may not work for everyone, especially if you have children. However, if you would like to try this for yourself, you can always ask GMTMA for help.

We can see what options you have available in your area and work out a plan, a car-less plan that is, at no cost to you. GMTMA is also the coordinator for Safe Routes to School in the Mercer in Ocean counties and can help organize walking and biking events for children, making them less dependent on that car ride and giving them the chance to be more active.

GMTMA is a non-profit, a free resource for commuters in Mercer County and Ocean County, why not take advantage of our services…

Green Commuters Win at the Living Local Expo

1 Apr

 

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Green Commuters beat out the Gray Commuters this past Saturday at the Living Local Expo at the National Guard Armory in Lawrence.

GMTMA was an exhibitor at the event which drew almost 900 people and was sponsored by Sustainable Lawrence,  the municipal Green Teams of Lawrence, Ewing and Hopewell, and the Mercer County office of Business Development and Sustainability.

We conducted an informal survey that measured how many people had Green Commutes  or Gray Commutes.

      • Green Commute involves sharing a ride – carpool, vanpool, or taking the bus or train
      • Super Green Commute  does not directly give off any pollution – Telecommute, Walking or Biking, (scooter, roller blades, etc)
      • Gray Commute creates the most traffic congestion and air pollution by driving alone in a single occupancy vehicle.

For a bit in the beginning of the event it looked like the Gray commuters were going to prevail, but the rain didn’t keep the Green commuters down in the long run. There were 50 peanuts in the jar for the Gray commuters who drive alone to work or students that are dropped off at school by a special trip. But 92 peanuts in the jar for the Green Commuters! Super Green Commuters were a big help allowing the commuters who don’t create any air pollution (walk, bike, telecommute, etc) to add 2 peanuts to the jar. Because adults and kids alike who choose a travel mode that does not create air pollution, are helping themselves, their community and the air that everyone breathes.

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If you are interested in learning more about pollution in our air and which days have higher air pollution levels, sign up for AirNow Alerts to get an email the day before a predicted bad air quality day. These alerts allow you to change your travel mode to a Greener one when the air pollution levels are going to be high.