Welcome to the April issue of GreenLights!
GreenLights is your newsletter highlighting the outstanding employers and commuters across the Triangle. We’re happy to present new encouraging examples of smart commuting and how a company can stand behind a strong commuter benefits program.
Please let us know if you are interested in being featured. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traffic Greenlight: Fortify Options
If you are traveling to Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, RTP or other locales in the western part of the Triangle during the morning using I-40, I-440 or Hwy 70, consider the impact of the Fortify road construction project on your commute. Fortify is a three year long road construction project to repave an 11.5 mile stretch of the beltline. Check out the new www.my40Ride.com for more details. Motorist in the Triangle are already beginning to feel the impact. Increased traffic jams and congestion along the construction corridor and alternative routes are causing commuter distress. Longer, frustrating commutes into to work often lead to reduced productivity and higher stress even after the workday has begun.
By reducing the number of cars on the road, we reduce congestion and delays. This improves the air we breathe and results in less traffic with quicker, easier commutes. Consider some new, realistic options. Try a carpool, vanpool or ride the bus just once – you may find that you really enjoy the benefits. Save the environment and save money. You may know a neighbor or someone that lives close by or even someone who travels your same route to work. Reach out to them; ride together once or twice a week and you’ll still see savings in your stops at the local gas station.
Also, consider a Triangle Transit van. A vanpool is very similar to a carpool. It is a group of seven to twelve people who lease a vehicle from Triangle Transit and ride to and from work together. Unlike a carpool, everything is covered in a single monthly fee – gas, maintenance, insurance, etc. If you need some help, go towww.SharetherideNC.com. While you are there, sign up for the Emergency Ride Home program. It is a free ride home anytime you choose to ride to work in a carpool, vanpool, bus, bike or walk and have a family emergency, unscheduled overtime or get sick at work. If you prefer to talk to a person instead of using a website call Liston Peoples at 919 485-7574 for personal assistance finding a carpool or a vanpool match.
As you can see, there are several ways to reduce the stress and frustration related to your daily commute. Of course, you can listen to some music or a program will help soothe your nerves; but nothing takes away the time and frustration of sitting, looking at your fellow motorists’ license plates and watching the time tick by because of an accident or congestion. Consider joining a carpool, a vanpool or taking the bus. Need some navigating the Fortify construction area, go to www.my40ride.com. If you’d like for someone to come to your workplace to give an overview of the project, talk to employees one on one during lunch or breaks or come to a community event contact Kim Johnson at (phone) or (use the Fortify email address) for free events at your location and informative materials your employees.
Company Greenlight: Wake County
Wake County has been consistently recognized as a top employer and the County ranks as one of the best places to work and live in numerous publications year after year. On their website, www.wakegov.com, they tout the fact that Wake County “employs approximately 3,800 employees, [and] has experienced minimal turnover for the last five years.” So why so little turn over when the news is touting decreasing employee loyalty as the common trend? Of course we are sure it can’t all be their commuter benefits program, but we would like to think it plays a part.
For many years now, Wake County Government has featured a robust commuter benefits program, offering GoPass, vanpool subsidies, flex-time (all available, only if applicable). Jerry Murdaugh at Wake County Human Resources is always helpful in getting employees outfitted with a GoPass to ride the bus, getting them situated in a vanpool, encouraging employees sign up for the free Emergency Ride Home program, helping out with organizing on-site events with Capital Area Transit and /or Triangle Transit to share educational materials and presentations and more. With Jerry’s help we recently completed a few educational sessions focusing on the Fortify I-40/440 road construction project and found some fantastic testimonials from Wake County employees who ride the bus. Wake County does an excellent job promoting vanpooling and carpooling as viable commuting options by having information readily available to find matches through the statewide carpool web site, Share the Ride NC.
Thank you Jerry, and thanks Wake County Government in helping to reduce traffic congestion in the Triangle – which makes everyone’s ride to work a little quicker and less stressful. Your efforts are commendable. If you would like assistance setting up commuter benefits for your employees, please contact your local employer outreach coordinator.
Commuter Greenlight: In the Knit of Time
Melanie Kincaid was the Golden Ticket winner in last year’s Golden Mode Award. Almost every day Melanie Kincaid does what so many say they are going to “try”. She leaves her car at home and rides the bus to work. While understanding how difficult it is to get past that first hurdle to just give it a try, she talked about using transit and began taking the bus as soon as an express service was started nearby. That was almost three years ago. She is undeterred by weather conditions and walks ¾ mile to the bus stop in her neighborhood. Melanie takes an express route bus that is approximately 10 miles with no connections into downtown Raleigh. With regular ridership, Melanie and the other commuters share life stories and recipes as well as friendship. Melanie knits on the bus, engaging others in the excitement of the project. What a wonderful use of time! Melanie says, “I just try to encourage people generally to take public transportation, as it saves on the aggravation of driving in traffic, and it offers an opportunity to do something positive for the environment. “ She also shares how relaxing the bus ride is at the end of the day. “The time on the bus feels like down time between work and the busyness of home. “
Melanie encourages others to check their area for a convenient bus route. If you need some help, she would encourage you to call 919 485-7433 (RIDE) to speak with a live person who can walk you through the process or check out your trip online.