Archive for the ‘Commute Benefits’ Category

A South Bellevue Park & Ride Alternative Story

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing on May 30th, 2017. We would like to provide those who are affected by this closure some ideas for exploring a new commute, provided through our fictional commuter, “Caffeinated Carey.”.

Caffeinated Carey’s New Morning Commute

Current Route – 23 min from South Bellevue Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

New Route – 44 minutes from Wilburton Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

Every morning, I wake up, grab my cup of coffee and hop into my car to start my morning commute to the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This park-and-ride is usually full, but I can normally find parking if I get there before 8:30 a.m. A few weeks ago, a sign was posted alerting bus commuters that it was going to close for at least five years due to construction of the new East Link light rail station. I was slightly comforted in knowing that the future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage (almost 1,000 more than current stalls). But all I could think about was what about how my current commute was going to change during those five years.

I figured now is as good a time as any to try my new commute so I could be prepared for the closure when it happens.

I started researching the new park-and-ride lots Sound Transit has secured, as well as those park-and-rides with existing capacity, to help with the displacement of cars from the lot.

Sound Transit’s resources include a web page about the closure and their East Link Replacement Parking Interactive Map.  I located the nearest park-and-ride to me on the interactive map, the Wilburton Park-and-Ride, which is only an additional five-minute drive from the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This trip did require a transfer, but according to Google Maps, it looked like the best option.

The following morning, I packed everything a few minutes earlier and headed to the new station to catch the 8:04 a.m. King Country Metro 240. Parking was relatively easy, though I made a note to remember the parking lot is much smaller than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. I walked about 5 minutes to SE 8th St & 118th Ave SE. I wanted to make sure I head I got on the quickest route, so I used my One Bus Away app that showed me arrival times of neighboring stations and bus stops. This bus then dropped me off a few minutes later at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride where I walked I caught route King Country Metro 212 dropped me off about two blocks away from my destination, and in less than five minutes I was at the Courthouse. Heading back home I had a few options, but I found that taking the Sound Transit 550 gets me faster to Bellevue in the evenings. I exited at the Bellevue Transit Center, and caught the King County Metro 246, or King County Metro 240, whichever came first since both buses travel to the Wilburton Park-and-Ride.

For now, this is a good substitution while I wait for the light rail to come across to the Eastside; and I still have time to grab my morning triple shot latte on ice before jumping on the bus!

-Sincerely, Caffeinated Carey

********

To those who can relate to Caffeinated Carey’s story due to the closure of South Bellevue and Park-and-Ride, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to assist with making the transition to your new commute an easier one. The 550, 555, and 556, 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way in front of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride when it closes. There will not be a park-and-ride in that vicinity; however, I would encourage you to plan ahead and look for an alternative park-and-ride that may work for you. (Note that you may need to transfer buses from your alternative lot in order to get where you need to go.) Or, try sharing the ride!

In fact, your new route may turn out to be faster than your old one. Recently, a commuter discovered that parking at the Newport Hills Park-and-Ride and taking the King County Metro Route 111 was 15 minutes faster than her current commute parking at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride and taking the Sound Transit 550!

Try checking for a new route from home, rather than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride; you may be surprised what you find! Some other helpful resources for planning your route include:

If you are having trouble figuring out your new commute, we are here to help! You may request Choose Your Way Bellevue custom commute assistance at any time.

Stay tuned to our blog for more examples in the future of how people are adjusting their commutes regarding the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

 

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 4:23 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, like most American’s you might be struggling to find what more you can do to help the environment. You’ve might have started by getting a compost bin to start that garden mulch from your kitchen scraps. Maybe even buying more items that can be recycled and not thrown away. You’re also about 99% sure that every light bulb in your house is energy efficient (except for maybe that bathroom one) and you’ve bought extra blankets so you can keep that thermostat low. What else can you do? One overlooked way, which might be considered a pioneering discovery for those that have tried it and love it, and is yet the most effective way to help protect the earth and reduce global warming, is to try an alternative commute mode to driving alone.

Declaring June Ride Transit Month, Transportation Choices Coalition and other community partners along with bus drivers and riders will be encouraging people to ride public transit during the month of June to help cut individual costs, protect the environment and curb pollution.

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions

With traffic congestion getting worse in cities across the country, cars and light trucks now account for about 30 percent of air pollution nationwide. The average urban commuter is said to waste about 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s an additional 42 hours of a mobile office, free of interruption, time spent watching your favorite show, catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, or even some extra shut eye (since we all know everyone could use some more of that).

Immediate saving activity

Switching to public transportation offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The annual savings for an individual who switches to taking public transportation, on average, is more than $812 per month. Switching to transit is easily the most effective thing you can do to fight climate change and place more money and time in your pocket.

Students and families

For every mile not driven, approximately one pound of carbon dioxide is not emitted into the atmosphere. You can create your own “Act of Green” through personal action like:

  • Walking to school one day the week of April 22
  • Biking with another family
  • Carpooling with another family

Logging your trips on Choose Your Way Bellevue will help you keep track of your carbon footprint and how much your saving!

So, avoid the hassle and cost of parking and try taking the bus, light rail or start a vanpool and reap the many benefits, including reducing your carbon foot print.

Post photos of your Earth Day ride on Facebook and tweet them using hashtags #CYWBtransit and #BellevueEarthDay.

– Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

Friday, April 21st, 2017 2:42 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

But you’re wondering – “Emergency Ride Home – how does that work?”

Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Augusta breaks it down for you:

CIM ERHOnce you’ve pledged you can join the I-405 Diamond Club!  – Upon your completion of the pledge, you are invited to join the I-405 Diamond Club through your RideshareOnline.com account. Here’s the rundown to get your first Emergency Ride Home (ERH) credit.

  1. Visit the “Rewards” tab at the top of your account.
  2. Click on “Incentive Programs” to view the I-405 Diamond Club incentive.
  3. Click “Submit Request” to join.
  4. Upon approval, you will receive your first Emergency Ride Home code, which you can access through Rewards > Pending Rewards (to choose your reward) > Reward History (to redeem your reward): (click to enlarge)View Redeem Instructions_diamond Club
  5. Continue to log your eight pledged days each month to earn another code each month through April 30, 2016, keeping your eligibility active.

We encourage you to write down your codes as you receive them, with the phone number and directions. Save your promo codes in your email, on your smartphone, or in your wallet on this handy card so that it is easily accessible in an emergency. Do not upload it to your Uber or Lyft account until you are ready to use it.

These are not free rides for planned trips or personal errands; the ERH is intended for you to have taxi rides home from work in your pocket in case of an eligible emergency. (Be sure to review these so you understand which trips qualify for as eligible emergencies).

Redeeming your ERH credit

If and when you are experiencing an eligible emergency, here is how to redeem your ride code (this is very similar to how you redeemed your first Diamond Club code, above):

  • Log into your account
  • Hover over “Rewards” on the top blue bar; click on “Pending Rewards.”
  • After you’ve chosen, hover over “Rewards” on the top blue bar; then click on “Rewards History.” Next to CIM – Emergency Ride Home click “View Redeem Instructions” to find the directions on how to redeem your ride.

A friendly note: Emergency Ride Home promo codes do not pay for tips. If you choose to tip, you may do so with your own credit card.

seattle yellow cabFor taxi rides you will have to call (425) 450-4555, identify yourself to the taxi dispatcher and state the name of the program–Community In Motion Emergency Ride Home program—when they ask for the “Employer”. We have agreements with Far West and Yellow Cab in the King County area. If this is an eligible trip, you will be able to get a ride home up to 60 miles in length. A friendly reminder that the tip is not included with this credit.

 

For Uber and Lyft codes, you’ll arrange your own ride through your personal Uber or Lyft accounts. You’ll use the ERH promo code to pay for rides up to 60 miles or $100. If your ride exceeds this amount you’ll be required to pay the difference.Uber

What should you do BEFORE you need an Emergency Ride Home while using Uber or Lyft?

  • Download the Uber and/or Lyft app(s). Create Uber and/or Lyft account(s) using your own credit card.
  • Redeem your code in your RideshareOnline.com account.

How to arrange an Emergency Ride Home?

  • Hail a ride using your Uber or Lyft app.
  • Using the Uber or Lyft app, “pay” for the ride using your ERH code. If the trip exceeds $100 or 60 miles, pay the difference with your credit card through your Uber or Lyft account.
  • At the conclusion of the Uber or Lyft ride, you may have the option to tip the driver using your own money.Lyft

If you haven’t pledged yet, and you are interested in the emergency ride home and haven’t taken the pledge yet, you can take the pledge here. Email getinmotion@kingcounty.gov with questions on the Communities In Motion program or the Emergency Ride Home. Ride credits expire June 15, 2016.

 

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 7:18 PM | by augusta | Add a Comment

BIKE_BUS_DSC_0305_nSometimes it is overwhelming to think about all of the travel options available in Bellevue. Sure it might seem easier to just jump in your car and head to your destination stress free. But at Choose Your Way Bellevue, we’re here to help you find an even more stress-free approach! What if we told you that bus stop that sits right across from your house goes directly into Downtown Bellevue? That book you’ve been eyeing for the last month, well now you can pick it up, relax and enjoy it on your ride into the city. Not only that, you’ll be saving yourself some serious bucks and your sanity when you avoid the congestion on the roads.

Whatever your situation, we’re here as your one-stop-shop for all of your traveling resources. Need to figure out which bus stops in your area? Or looking to find someone to fill that last seat in your car? If you’re still not sold, read on for Choose Your Way by the numbers as we break it down for you!

  • 44 bus routes serve Bellevue, which means you have options, allowing you to save money and time!
  • What about the 281 operating vanpools with 2,166 seats traveling to and from Bellevue each day?
  • 48 miles of bike lanes run through Bellevue for your cycling trips. Plus, you can burn some  calories when riding a bike!
  • According to AAA, it costs an average of $8,946 a year in upkeep for your vehicle, while riding a bike is on average $308. Check out this post where we break down the cost of commuting.
  • There are more than 2,000 Bellevue workers and residents currently seeking a carpool partner in On The Move Bellevue. Sign up today to find yours. Looking to fill your car with a third passenger so you can jump on the new I-405 Express Toll Lanes? Create a ridematch trip in your On The Move Bellevue account!
  • 346 miles of sidewalks in and around Bellevue is accessible to those walking to work, the grocery store, the park or other local establishments. Enjoy fresh air and try to get some exercise while you’re out and about!
  • According to the National Safety Council data, it is 170 times safer to ride public transit than a car.
  • 80 miles of parks and trails are in Bellevue for you to explore on your commute or buzz around your neighborhood. Perhaps there is an errand you can run on that bike that is sitting in your garage. Are you in need of an ingredient from the grocery store for your favorite meal? Bike down to the store instead of driving and turn your errands into an opportunity for exercise!
  • 9 Zipcars are available around downtown Bellevue for those unexpected, mid-day meetings in Seattle. Relax on a bus into work and then reserve one of their vehicles for your mid-day client meeting. For Zipcar locations and information on how to join visit here.
  • In a study published by the British Medical Journal men were most likely to be seven pounds lighter than those who don’t take public transportation, while women weighed in at five pounds lighter. All that walking to and from each bus stop really pays off!

Bellevue workers and residents can— for the most part—  travel within city limits with ease. How do you find your way around the city? Are you willing to explore your options? Haven’t made a change to your travel patterns in a while? The possibilities are endless; and the numbers speak for themselves.

Fill out a commute inquiry and we will get back to you with a customized travel plan today.

We’re here to help you at Choose Your Way Bellevue!

-Choose your Way Bellevue Staffer, Jackie

 

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 9:00 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

Amidst a strong economy and with fuel prices near a six-year low, Federal data shows vehicle miles traveled have increased slightly since 2013. Looking closer however, the same data shows vehicle miles traveled in the US, adjusted for population growth, are still down 6.29 percent from an all-time high in June 2005. Driving fewer miles, even with lower gas prices, doesn’t change the fact that driving is still very expensive. Beyond the price of gasoline, many drivers do not realize the true cost of driving.  Unlike housing, vehicle costs are spread into many different categories throughout the year.

The average U.S. household spends 32 percent of their income on housing— not a surprise. But that same household spends 19 percent on transportation expenses. Transportation as a share of household income climbs to 25 percent in auto-dependent suburbs. And while gas prices seem like a big part of our driving expenses, they only account for 13 percent of vehicle ownership and operating costs for the average driver.

To gain a better picture on how much it REALLY costs to commute to work, I’ve aggregated the expenses into one number – as if we were to feel the aggregate cost of all of our driving expenses each time we went to the pump to fill up.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, ownership and operating costs break down into eight categories, with depreciation, financing and insurance accounting for more than 3/4 of total ownership cost.

Chart 1

ownership cost
Chart 1 illustrates that fuel and fuel taxes account for 13 percent of the total cost of driving. Now think about how much it costs to fill your gas tank. At $2.50 per gallon, the cost to fill a 20-gallon tank is $50. If that $50 dollars only represents 13 percent of the cost of driving, then each time we spend $50 dollars on gas we are also spending $334.61 on other auto-related expenses—which means the total cost of using that $50 tank of gas is really $384.61.

In other words, if your vehicle gets 30 miles per gallon and a gallon of gas is $2.50 per gallon, each mile you drive costs you 64¢ of which only 8.3¢ goes to fuel and fuel taxes. At 30 miles per gallon a 20-gallon tank will take you 600 miles at a total cost of $384.61.

What does this mean for an average commuter? Driving from North Bothell to downtown Bellevue a commuter drives about 15 miles each way. The real cost to drive 30 miles, accounting for all vehicle expenses, is $19.20 per day!

For $19.20 per day, a commuter would pay about $422.40 per month to commute to and from work. Add parking cost (2015 average downtown Bellevue monthly parking rate of $181.22) to that total and we could easily spend over $600 per month driving to and from work—not to mention one to two hours per day stuck in congestion. For $126 per month, the same commuter could purchase a monthly transit pass and—if they don’t own a car—still have close to $500 left over for housing expenses, vacation money or an early retirement.

We understand the above figure is based on the total cost of car ownership and that some of the costs don’t scale as acutely with a reduction in miles driven, particularly finance cost. Regardless, the above figure is presented to spark a conversation about the real cost of driving. And as I learned when I starting using public transit and biking for my commute trips, and using transit, biking and walking for many of my non-commute trips, most of the costs do decline as the mileage decreases. For example, I receive a reduced rate on car insurance because I drive fewer than 5,000 miles per year, my vehicle is depreciating at a far slower rate, and by putting fewer miles on my vehicle, I pay less for repairs, maintenance and fuel. Furthermore, my family and I are now considering giving up one vehicle, and even if we don’t, we certainly won’t need to add a 3rd vehicle when our son starts driving in the next couple years.

You can calculate your own commute cost by clicking here or find the link at Choose Your Way Bellevue. Learn more about the real cost of driving here.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Jason

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 5:34 PM | by Jason Hampton | Comments (2)

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