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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

wintercommuttipsTurning back our clocks doesn’t mean we have to turn in for the winter. Having moved to the Pacific Northwest from Michigan just this past August, I am no expert on Seattle’s gloomy winters, but I do know that we shouldn’t let the darkness and cold weather get us down! Here are a few ways to make the most of your commute during these next few months:

Get out on your lunch hour. If you get to work when it’s dark and leave when it’s dark, consider getting out of the office during lunch. For you downtown workers, grab a buddy and stroll through the Downtown Park or check out one of the many food trucks. Perhaps getting some fresh air during the day will make the ride home a little more bearable.

Be prepared for rain or chilly weather. These next few months will most likely bring wetter and colder weather. If you have an extra set of gloves, a hat, a scarf, and an umbrella or waterproof jacket at work, you will have one less thing to worry about if the weather takes a turn for the worse halfway through the day.

Walk part of the way home.  If you do not already walk or bike to work, consider incorporating a short walk to or from your place of employment. Research shows that even adding a 10 minute walk to your commute can improve psychological health and well-being[i]. You can incorporate a short walk into your regular routine by getting off the bus one or two stops earlier, depending on the distance. Make sure to dress in layers!

Embrace the darkness. If all else fails, try looking on the bright side. A dark sky is a perfect backdrop for watching part of your favorite movie, TED talk, or news clip on your bus ride home. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your show.

Do you have other tips for a happy commute? Leave them in the comments so readers can learn from your experience.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer, Danielle

[i] Health Economics Group (2014). “Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing.” University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School and the University of York Centre for Health Economics.

Monday, November 30th, 2015 10:12 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

If you’re an HR professional or employer representative and considering providing a transit benefit to your company’s employees, but aren’t sure which product is best, we’ve got you covered. There are three ways to provide a monthly transit pass to your employees:

1. ORCA Business Passport: ORCA Business Passport is a, comprehensive, annual transportation pass program for employers who want to offer their employees a transit pass.

The premise is simple: Put the ORCA cards in the hands of all of your employees, and then pay based on average usage in your area. It rounds out to be a discounted product, versus purchasing monthly passes every month (which can cost an average of $1,404 per year fora retail two-zone Puget Pass).

The caveat: You must purchase it for all of your benefits eligible employees (you determine if that means full-time or if part-timers are included). With an ORCA Passport account, employers may charge each ORCA card holder a co-pay of up to 50 percent of the annual cost of the pass to recoup some of the cost. If that sounds confusing – contact us! We’re here to help. There are tax benefits available to companies that provide transit subsidies.

The minimum amount of employees you need to qualify for a regular passport program is 10 to 499 employees. Employers in downtown Bellevue can participate with as few as five employees. If your company has more than 500 employees, then a King County ORCA representative will work with you to create a customized Passport program. Please contact us for more details.

Company benefits include:

  • Comprehensive annual transportation pass program within a single card
  • Reduced administrative costs. The Passport annual program does not require monthly online administration or knowledge of what type of passes employees need.
  • Annual payments and no monthly loading of cards
  • Management of employee cards online
  • Option to combine with Business Choice or E-voucher program to cover ferry riders at additional cost
  • Equitable transportation benefits to all employees
  • Pre-tax benefit options allowed for the 50 percent employee co-pay

Employee benefits for ORCA Passport include :

  • Unlimited rides on ALL regular service bus routes for these agencies: King County Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Kitsap transit, Pierce Transit and Everett Transit
  • Unlimited rides on regional rail including: Sounder Commuter Train, Seattle Streetcar and Link Light Rail
  • Unlimited rides on the Water Taxi: King County Water taxi to West Seattle and Vashon Island,
  • Kitsap Foot Ferry: Port Orchard-Bremerton and Annapolis-Bremerton routes only
  • Fully subsidized vanpool/vanshare: 100% subsidy on vanpool and vanshare. Learn about vanpool and vanshare.
  • Home Free Guarantee: Up to eight free taxi rides home from work in case of an emergency:

If your company has more than 500 employees, your customized ORCA Passport does not come with certain benefits such as emergency ride home service or vanpool fare subsidy, but you may add them for an additional cost.  You can also customize your ORCA cards with a company logo printed on them.

If your company offers an employee ORCA benefit or if you are considering purchasing ORCA passes for the employees in your organization, be sure to review the latest ORCA Business Passport pricing:

  • Effective September 1, 2015 the renewal rate for ORCA Passport in Downtown Bellevue core is $637.49 ($53 a month!) and the cost per employee for new accounts is$492.53
  • For Non-Downtown Bellevue companies, the renewal rate is $444.06and the per employee cost for new accounts $273.78.

2. Pre-tax: You can setup a pre-tax contribution toward a monthly transit pass, whether your company subsidizes a pass or not. Employees are currently eligible for up to $130 in pre-tax transportation benefits each month. Employers can save money on taxes as well. Learn more at the King County Commute Solutions website.

3. ORCA Business Choice: With Business Choice you can provide ORCA cards to as few or as many employees as you choose. Business Choice lets you include a monthly pass for bus, train or ferry travel plus stored transportation fare value via the E-purse, on a single card.

Company benefits include:

  • Subsidize all, some or none of the cost of employees’ transit passes.
  • Provide cards only to those employees using transportation services.
  • Order products and manage cards online.
  • Pre-tax benefit options.

Ultimately it comes down to providing a valuable benefit for your employees and giving them an opportunity to choose how they travel to work. Commute Advantage staff provides free consultations to all employers in Bellevue. If you want to discuss which program would work best for your employees, learn about transportation options or if you ready to develop a transportation program for your company, please contact Commute Advantage today for your free consultation.

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 3:36 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

WSDOT0140_ZFold_Toll_Map_Starting September 27th, The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will start tolling the HOV lanes along the I-405 corridor.

Have you ever tried to use the HOV lanes on I-405 during peak commute times? If so, you may have noticed that they don’t move any faster than the general purpose lanes. Under state and federal law, all HOV lanes need to be moving an average of 45 miles per hour to ensure a reliable commute time. By implementing the toll lanes between NE 6th Street in Bellevue and 405 in Lynnwood, WSDOT hopes to increase the reliability of the average commute by giving commuters a choice to get to where they are going as quickly as possible.

The HOV lanes will be converted into pay-per-use toll lanes similar to those along the State Route 167 corridor. You may use the HOV lanes for free if you have a qualifying carpool and a registered and approved Good To Go! Pass. All of the general purpose lanes will remain free of charge at all times.

WSDOT has started a campaign to educate drivers along the 405 corridor on how the toll lanes work. When you drive alone on I-405 between Lynnwood and Bellevue, you’ll have the opportunity to use the lanes for a fee. Electronic signs above the lanes will give you the price for the toll based upon the time you enter the lanes.

Learn how to qualify for a free flex pass. Switchable flex passes are different than the standard Good To Go! sticker on most vehicles. These flex passes have the option to convert from a standard setting to a HOV setting when you have the appropriate number of passengers in your vehicle.

Under state law, the money raised from the collection of tolls will go back to paying for the tolling infrastructure and future projects along the 405 corridor.

These lanes will directly impact commuters coming to and from Bellevue and beyond. To learn more about ways to enhance your commute contact the Choose Your Way Bellevue team.

Check out this video on how the toll lanes will work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tzocP4UfZk

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer, Ariel

Monday, August 31st, 2015 5:13 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

All trips! All ways! All days! It’s not unusual to hear that statement in our office—while commute trip reduction is a big part of our mission, we are also focused on helping people reduce drive-alone trips for personal travel. We are not trying to end all drive alone trips, but our mission is to increase the number of trips taken by alternate modes, such as walking, biking, carpooling, vanpooling, transit and telecommuting. To get on board, Transportation Choices Coalition’s June campaign, Ride Transit Month, was aimed at getting people to ride transit and to help give people a “fare” startChoose Your Way Bellevue offered $10 ORCA Cards to new transit users.

We delivered 96 ORCA Cards and tasked participants with “capturing their commutes” and sharing their experiences. For giving transit a try and sharing their story, eligible participants were also given a $25 TranBen voucher, good toward future transit trips. An additional five entries were randomly chosen and each was awarded a $50 gift card to be used toward additional travel expenses. Thank you to all who participated and congrats to our gift card winners Cliff D., Bob H., Amanda B., Carol S. and Tricia W.

There are so many great places accessible by transit—our staff enjoyed reading the stories and hearing about your experiences. Some participants rode transit to work, others took the Sounder Train to a Mariners game and one family rode the Sound Transit 560 to the airport on their way to Disneyland.

Cliff D_ferry_commute

Cliff’s photo of his ferry commute.

Cliff D. doesn’t have the shortest commute, but as you can see from his picture the views on his Poulsbo to Bellevue commute are incredible. Cliff begins his day riding Kitsap Transit to the Bainbridge Island Ferry dock where he walks onto the WSF to Seattle. Once in Seattle, Cliff catches a Sound Transit bus to his Bellevue office. Cliff is able to use his ORCA Card to pay for all three trips, and since he uses his ORCA Card he gets a transfer credit between the two bus trips, meaning he only pays the higher of the two fares.

Amanda B. describes herself as a county girl who has never lived in a big city—and until recently has never worked in a big city. Amanda had some trepidation regarding transit, but she decided to take the Capture Your Commute challenge and what she learned surprised her.

Amanda B_My Commute - Amanda Bowen (1)

Amanda made a new friend on her commute.

First, Amanda learned that the interactions with other commuters were pleasant. Second, since she has a short walk from her office to the bus stop she was able to get her steps in for the day—“a struggle for someone who sits at a desk for 8 hours.” Finally, Amanda avoided fighting the I-405 and SR-167 traffic and she even stumbled across “an adorable, curious, perfect little bunny, who was also out enjoying the early afternoon sun.” Amanda arrived back at her car with “exactly zero built-up traffic stress, a full Fit Bit, and a smile brought to me by a furry little friend.” She says her experiment was a huge success. Welcome to low-stress commuting, Amanda!

Tricia W. found that the Sounder Train is an easy way to get the family to the Mariners game, and she was also excited to find the station in Auburn has a weekend farmers market. We love riding transit to community events. It’s convenient, reliable and there are no parking fees! Go M’s!


Tricia W_image

Tricia makes her way to a baseball game via transit.

Monday, August 10th, 2015 2:05 PM | by geri | Comments (2)

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