Archive for March, 2018

Although I normally ride the bus to work (here in Downtown Bellevue), I will drive in once in a blue moon when I need a car for some reason. Every time I have to drive to Downtown Bellevue, it drives me nuts.

I commute from Mercer Island and while the driving time is similar, when you factor in having to find a parking spot, not being able to use the carpool lane, and having to walk from the parking garage, it’s actually much faster for me to just hop on and off the bus.

I’m not saying that it will be faster for everyone to take public transit. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones in this sense. However, there are so many great reasons to take public transit even if it makes your commute a little more complicated. If you look into it, you might even find that your commute is made easier by not driving.

Here are some of the reasons why I love taking the bus: 

  • Helps the environment – I log my commute online and only halfway through March, I’ve already saved 3 gallons of gasoline and 40 pounds of carbon! That’s 960 pounds of carbon in a year!
  • Helps my wallet – My commute log shows that I’ve saved $19 so far this month by not driving – by the end of the month I’ll have paid for my coffee for the month! My job pays for my ORCA transit pass so the savings are even better (ask your employer if they subsidize transit – you’ll find that a lot of them do)! On top of that, I’m not putting wear and tear on a car by driving it.
  • Increases personal time – Since I don’t have to focus on driving, I can focus on other things! My commute can be spent catching up on the latest podcast, checking my email, reading a book, or (as often happens) sneaking in some extra sleep! It’s so nice not having to focus on the road.
  • Free rewards – just for logging your non-drive-alone commute or committing to reduce drive-alone trips, you can get entered to win free stuff through Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards and Just One Trip (ex. REI gift cards, Amazon gift cards, gas cards, bus passes and more!) You also get monthly discounts to local restaurants and businesses. There are lots of options for bus riders as well as people who use other forms of commuting (vanpool, biking, etc.). Sign up now – who doesn’t like free stuff?

Tips to Get Started:

“When you’re sitting in your car complaining about traffic, just remember – you are traffic.” – a brilliant coworker of mine 

Emma, Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 2:33 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

It’s ba-aaack! King County Metro’s Just One Trip program is here again to reward you for changing just one trip (or more!) to an alternative mode to driving alone. It’ easy to get started:

  • Head to JustOneTrip.org and sign up for this year’s program. Signing up lets the team know which mode you’re interested in trying out or doing more of – transit, biking, walking, carpool, vanpool, etc.
  • After signing up, you’ll be mailed a reward to help you on your way. New this year: if you already have an ORCA card but can take transit more often, the team will load an e-purse value on your existing card rather than mailing you a new one!
  • You’ll also receive a $100 Emergency Ride Home code to use in case something unexpected happens, like getting sick at work.
  • Within two weeks after receiving your reward, make the effort to change drive-alone trips.
  • Just One Trip will email you a short survey to learn how things went for you; when you finish, you’ll be entered into a grand prize drawing for a $250 grocery gift card!

Already using alternatives as much as possible? Share your story and refer a friend to earn $25 REI gift cards!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 9:19 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Augusta is the Bellevue Downtown Association Membership Director and occasionally commutes with Patrick, who is the Bellevue Downtown Association President.  Here is her experience using Scoop, a new carpool app that launch on the Eastside this year:

We’d been carpooling occasionally for a few months – maybe once a week. It was easy to coordinate since Patrick works in the same office as I do. We’d coordinate the night before an early meeting or if I had bused in the morning and was working late, occasionally he’d drive me home. My house is on the way home for him – and he claims he doesn’t mind the company.

When we heard Scoop was launching we thought we’d give it a go to see how the system worked, whether we’d get matched and how much the trip would cost for me and how much I’d be paying him.

We both downloaded the app, and set up our profiles. It was pretty easy to set up – it just asked for my name, phone number, email address and employer in case my employer had a subsidy program. Even though I’d been a rider, I signed up to be a driver too and that took about 60 seconds. I put in my car’s make and model, year, color, license plate and driver’s license number and I was approved within five minutes. Easy-peasy. I even added a picture of myself so my profile felt complete.

So the next evening by 9:00 p.m. we scheduled our carpool for the next morning. Here are the steps I took to schedule:

  • I selected if I would ride or drive
  • I selected the 15-minute window I’d prefer to be picked up (between 8:00-8:15)
  • Patrick did the same
  • Then by 9:15 p.m. I received a notification that I’d be carpooling with Patrick and to be outside my house by 8:15. I could click on the ride and it showed a route that Patrick might take, and what time he’d be estimated to be at my house. I could message him through the app, and call if needed.

We had both previously opted to “favorite” each other’s profile so we wanted to see if that would mean we’d automatically match. It’s early on in Scoop’s Bellevue launch – but sure enough, our times and carpool matched up. My trip cost me $4 and he made $3. The best part was he was finally getting paid for these trips!

Either of us could also have opted to use Scoop to carpool home with a different carpool partner, but Patrick had a later meeting and I was meeting up with a friend so we made it home with different modes. The flexibility was nice! I think if I continue I’ll prefer using Scoop for the morning commute. Have you tried it yet? What did you think?

-Augusta, Downtown Bellevue Commuter and Honorary Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Learn more about Scoop and other ridematching apps on the CYWB Apps & Technology page.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 3:13 PM | by augusta | Add a Comment

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