Free EcoPasses Provided to Local Employees
Louisville, CO—Commuting Solutions is launching the first RTD Master EcoPass Pilot Program along a major suburban corridor in Colorado. The nonprofit organization is providing EcoPasses to 1,000 employees who work for 25 employers. Organizations located within one-quarter mile of McCaslin, Broomfield and Westminster Center Park-n-Rides applied for the EcoPasses through Commuting Solutions. This initiative is part of a larger Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program in conjunction with the US 36 Express Lanes Project. At its peak, the TDM effort will reduce traffic congestion by close to 27,000 vehicle miles of travel per day.
“The program is exceeding expectations. We were able to quickly partner with RTD to create this corridor-wide program. Knowing the EcoPass is by far the most effective TDM strategy to reduce solo driving, I’m excited to see how the program will lead employees to use RTD service more frequently now, as well as when US 36 Bus Rapid Transit service begins in early 2016,” says Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros.
The EcoPasses are free in 2015, and employers will receive 70 percent off the Master EcoPass contracts in 2016. The EcoPass is valid for unlimited rides on all RTD Local, Express, and Regional service, light rail and Call-n-Ride service. Employees with an EcoPass pay only $2.50 each way for SkyRide service to Denver International Airport. In the case of an emergency such as an unplanned schedule change, the Guaranteed Ride Home program gives EcoPass holders a free taxi ride home.
“RTD is pleased to partner with Commuting Solutions on this innovative pilot program to provide this opportunity to employers along the US 36 corridor. There are so many benefits to using public transportation and this program will help encourage people to try out transit,” says RTD CEO and General Manager Phil Washington.
Funding through the US 36 Express Lanes Project and Commuting Solutions will pay RTD $123,000 to provide the 2015 EcoPasses. The cost for an employee to buy 12 Regional monthly passes outside of this program is $176 each month or $2,112 over a 12-month period. If each employee who is eligible for the US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program bought monthly passes for a year, they would pay a combined amount of over $2 million. The pilot program enables employers to pass on the cost savings of a free transit pass, which also helps with employee retention. Another benefit of the program includes more parking spaces near employers as space is freed up from commuters leaving their cars behind.
“On behalf of the US 36 Express Lanes Project team, we are excited to be part of another innovative program with Commuting Solutions to reduce traffic congestion during the remainder of the project. This program helps us reach our goal, which is to highlight all the choices available in this corridor,” says CDOT Project Director Mark Gosselin.
According to the 2011 Boulder Valley Employee Survey for Transportation, people in Boulder who have an EcoPass are 4 to 6 times more likely to ride transit.
As a result of this pilot program, more commuters will be using the US 36 Express Lanes and Bus Rapid Transit after the construction project is complete in early 2016. RTD plans to introduce its Flatiron Flyer service at that time.
Commuting Solutions received survey responses from 375 people who qualify for an EcoPass through this program. Among those surveyed, 75 percent responded that they have never used transit for their work commute.
“The Master EcoPass Program is a tremendous benefit as it opens up a low-cost transportation option to many of our employees for at least the next year or two. We also have the advantage of being located near a major RTD bus hub, which makes the option more attractive and convenient,” says Double Tree Hotel General Manager Colin Grice, whose employer is located near the Westminster Center Park-n-Ride.
Employers represented in the US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program include DoubleTree Hotel, Whole Foods, U.S. Bank, Home Depot, Famous Brands International, Panera Bread, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Panda Express, PetSmart, Return Path and many smaller organizations. For a complete list of all the companies that have registered for the US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program, visit the US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program FAQ.
The closest Master EcoPass contract to the US 36 corridor is located in downtown Boulder. This contract includes 1,200 eligible employees who are part of CAGID (Central Area Improvement District and BID (Business Improvement District). The next closest contract is located near the Denver Tech Center with 370 eligible employees.
The TDM program includes incentives for solo drivers on US 36 to carpool, vanpool or ride transit through the duration of the US 36 Express Lanes Project. To learn more about the US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program, please visit the web page on commutingsolutions.org.
About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the mobility of commuters along the US 36 corridor. Our public-private coalition consists of 76 private sector members, nine public sector members between Westminster, Boulder and Longmont, and nine individual members.