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Subsidies for low-car commuting

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Vanpools, using shared vans like this one, are heavily subsidized by both local and national programs.

Subsidies for alternative commuting in the Portland area cut the cost of commuting by TriMet, bicycle or vanpool, if commuters' employers are willing to set up the programs. The most basic benefit -- a tax-free TriMet pass, which would save a typical TriMet rider about $25 a month -- is free for employers to offer.

The subsidies come in two categories, described in detail on their own pages.

  • Income tax benefits for alternative commuting: Employers can get tax benefits by helping cover the cost of transit passes and bike maintenance. Or they can make the cost of a TriMet pass tax-free to their workers. Either way, low-car commuters save money, and so do their employers.
  • Vanpooling subsidies: on top of these income tax benefits, Metro and C-Tran further subsidize the cost of commuting in shared vans.

The two types of benefit are cumulative. For example, an Oregon company that covered some of its workers' cost for commuting in shared vans would get benefits in both categories.

[edit] How to create a subsidized commuting program

To create a program for your workplace involving:

  • Transit passes: Contact TriMet at employerprograms@trimet.org or 503-962-7670.
  • Vanpools: If it would not involve Clark County, contact Metro at rto@oregonmetro.gov or 503-813-7566. If the vanpool would go through Clark County, contract C-Tran at 360-906-7510.
  • Bicycling: contact the Bicycle Transportation Alliance at 503-226-0676.

[edit] See also


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