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Seattle’s Ruff Rider

Eclipse with her Orca card

It started with Eclipse’s owner smoking a cigarette a little too long one day which made this impatient pooch jump onto the bus without her owner. Eclipse’s owner followed suit on the next bus and noticed that Eclipse was already waiting at the dog park. Eclipse’s owner usually rides with her, but on the off chance she’s solo, Eclipse jumps onto the Rapid Ride D line, sits quietly and waits for her stop all on her own. Although Eclipse should really be on a leash, dogs are able to ride at the discretion of the driver and under certain guidelines. For those that are new to transit and want to join Eclipse in finding an alternative commute Choose Your Way Bellevue is currently offering a great promotion for new transit users*. Visit our homepage to find out more.


Friday, August 25th, 2017 2:12 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

You might not believe it, but there was a time when there were only a handful of options to move about in the city. Mobile technology and transit growth means Bellevuites have arguably more choices than ever before. We have put together some popular questions that have been asked about rideshare programs and some ideas on how to get you moving.

The park-and-ride is always full; how can I ensure I’ll have a place to park if I share the ride to the park-and-ride?

Try starting a VanShare. A great promotion is going on right now for commuters sharing a ride to a Park-and-Ride in the I-90/I-405 corridor. Start a van with just two other riders and you can get the first three months free while you recruit more riders! On top of receiving a $50 MasterCard Rewards card, each member will receive a free Orca card with $25 pre-loaded. Need another reason? Your van is parked at qualifying Park-and-Rides for FREE at a reserved spot!

I don’t have enough people to start a VanShare or VanPool, but still want a reserved spot for my carpool.

You’re in luck, right now you can obtain carpool parking permit for carpooling to a park-and-ride with one additional passenger and get a reserved carpool space and skip driving around and searching for a parking spot. King County (Metro) is providing free permits at participating and Sound Transit is providing passes at $5 for their Park-and-Rides. Need a little push to start that carpool? Qualifying carpool drivers can receive a free Good To Go! pass while supplies last. If you will be carpooling at least one day per week between Bellevue and Lynnwood and, you could qualify for this free pass! Skip the traffic and jump into that express lane and get to work quicker without having to pay the toll!

But, I need my car for my lunch meeting or to run a quick errand in the middle of the day?

Zipcar is great option for those that need to run an errand during the day or don’t have access to a car. The hourly rate for a Zipcar is normally between $7.50 – $10.50 depending on car type and city. A few garages and surface lots hold a Zipcar that you can reserve a head of time and there might just be one close to or in the building you’re in! Uber and Lyft are also great resources for longer appointments where pick up and drop off happen right in front of your building. These carshare services available in Downtown Bellevue  is a great resource to use instead of having to drive your car to work, pay for gas, parking, tolls and car maintenance. To help increase car share services in the Eastside take the Eastside Carshare Survey and you can help bring more carshare options to Bellevue!

I still want to take the bus, but my Park-and-Ride is too full and the garage at my building is too expensive.

For those that need to get closer to a bus route, Metro has partnered with Diamond parking to give commuters the option of buying reserved parking spaces closer to your transit line. The first month is free and the following monthly rates are lower than most private garages in Bellevue. Check out our other blog post on the lots with convenient access to Downtown Seattle.

Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:40 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 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 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 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




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