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Free Rides for Employees Commuting on Transit

Wendy Duren
Wendy Duren February 20, 2020 Wendy Duren is the Program Director for Arlington Transportation Partners. She teleworks and collaborates with the ATP team via Skype meetings and other technology-assisted means.

ATP Takeaway: Employers save money and employees ride for free using Metro’s Monthly Unlimited Pass through SmartBenefits.

Transit service providers around the country have been working hard to improve bus and rail users’ experiences and it is starting to pay off. For the first time in nearly a decade, Metro reported a 4% increase in ridership in 2019.

Last year’s increase came on the heels of a summer long Metro platform improvement project as well as improvement initiatives that created major disruptions in the busiest parts of the system in 2016. A 4% increase may not seem like much, but in the transit world, along with all those obstacles, ridership is trending for Metro in the right direction.

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For those of us that think Metro is mostly a commuter service, take note that the ridership increases were more apparent during weekend service. This proves that your employees are coming back to transit not only to get to work but choosing transit in even higher numbers for their non-commute trips.

Improvements to service isn’t the only thing influencing your employees’ decision to use transit more.  Last year, WMATA announced new pass options that provide transit users to get more value for their money including a new Monthly Unlimited Pass. The new monthly pass expanded their previously available SelectPass to include “free” Metrobus services as well.

Save with Monthly Unlimited Pass

Improvements to service isn’t the only thing influencing your employees’ decision to use transit more.  Last year, WMATA announced new pass options that provide transit users to get more value for their money including a new Monthly Unlimited Pass. The new monthly pass expanded their previously available SelectPass to include “free” Metrobus services as well.

How does it work?

If your employees commute by Metrorail or Metrobus most days of the month, after commuting 36 times in a month (or 18 days roundtrip), additional trips your employees take that cost the same or less as their typical commute are FREE. If employees take a trip that costs more than their usual commute trip, they just pay the difference using stored value on their SmarTrip Card. As you’d expect, there are exceptions. The pass is only available for use on Metrorail and Metrobus and does not currently cover fare on ART, Circulator, DASH, Fairfax Connector, The Bus, Ride On, or other local/regional buses.

Maximize the value for both your organization and your employees

The savings don’t have to stop there. Provide your employees with even more value by offering the Monthly Unlimited Pass through your SmartBenefits Program. Through this program, you can either have your employees pay for the pass using pre-tax dollars or your organization can chip in and pay directly for all or a portion of the pass monthly so you can both receive savings.

How Do I Get Started?

Start by setting up a SmartBenefits account and determine if WMATA’s new Monthly Unlimited Pass is right for your employees. Next, create a category for the monthly pass, change the employee’s designation to a Transit Pass Benefit. Lastly, select rollover if you want any unused funds to stay on your employee’s SmartTrip card or non-rollover for unused funds to be returned to you.

Need help? We can help you communicate the new offerings to your employees or connect you directly to SmartBenefits assistance. Don’t miss out on additional employer savings and ensure your employees are able to take advantage of free rides.

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Photo Credit: Reema Desai/ReemaDesai.com for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Benefits, Employer, Transit

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