OKLAHOMA CITY— With the cost of operating a vehicle around $8,000 or more per year, some Oklahoma City area workers are looking for creative ways to cut the expense. EMBARK’s newest rideshare program is an easy way to reduce car costs and recover valuable time from a daily commute.
Rideshare is a program where EMBARK leases an SUV or a van to a group who wants to ride together to and from work and share a similar schedule. Depending on the number in the group and the amenities of the vehicle, the cost is around $100 or less a month per person and covers fuel, insurance and maintenance. There are also tax benefits that allow those who rideshare to exclude some of the cost from taxable income
Lori Rasmussen, an employee at Boeing, commutes to work every day from her home in Edmond and was one of the first Boeing employees to sign up for the new Rideshare.
“I spend about 45 minutes each way on my commute, so when I learned about sharing an SUV with a group of my co-workers, I took a closer look,” says Rasmussen. “I can save about $5,000 or so a year – more with the tax breaks.”
“The savings make sense on their own, but commuting with coworkers has other benefits,” adds Rasmussen. “I enjoy getting to know my coworkers better. It’s also more relaxing than driving by myself; on one commute, I paid bills from my mobile. When I got home, I could focus on my family.”
With EMBARK Rideshare, once a group is matched, they decide on the size and amenities of the vehicle; for example, overhead reading lights, keyless entry, backup camera or WiFi service. The driving responsibilities can rotate and the driver parks the vehicle at their home. Every month, a fuel card, essentially a debit card, is automatically loaded and balances are automatically reconciled based on actual fuel used each month. The program includes an app to help members of the group notify others of a schedule change or sick day and also provides a guaranteed ride home in an emergency.
“EMBARK’s experience in public transit and the timing of this new program brings Boeing employees a turnkey transit choice, an important option Boeing has heard through surveys and input that our employees want,” she adds. “It’s easy to sign up for the program and it calculates everything for the members - we don’t have to divide fuel costs, or spend time with vehicle maintenance and repairs. It’s month-to-month, so there’s no long-term commitment. The simplicity and savings appeals to many of our employees.”
“EMBARK’s leadership in actively pursuing transit options that reduce congestion and improve air quality benefits the entire region,” says Roy Williams, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. “Tackling commuter patterns from our neighboring cities means looking for options that make non-traditional forms of public transit easy and cost effective. We expect the rideshare program to grow quickly – we know employers are interested in offering more transit options for their employees and this is a smart solution.”
The EMBARK Rideshare program is a contracted partnership with vRide – a national rideshare firm. vRide is the largest private provider of vanpools with over 7,000 vans across the country and has been used to match people based on schedules, where they live and where they need to go. To calculate savings or find a vanpool, visit www.vRide.com
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK is responsible for providing safe, efficient and convenient public transportation and downtown parking solutions to the greater Oklahoma City area.
EMBARK is the North America Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year.
To learn more about EMBARK and view bus schedules and routes, visit www.embarkok.com or call (405) 235-RIDE (7433) for personal assistance from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about carpooling or to be matched with someone in your area, visit www.getaroundok.com.
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