Thursday June 28, 2007
--Mayor Abramson encourages other businesses to do the same--
Humana and TARC have formed a partnership that will help Humana employees save money on gas, bring new riders to TARC and potentially reduce congestion and free up additional parking in the downtown area.
Effective June 1, Humana employees began using their company IDs to board any TARC bus or trolley. Rather than continuing to buy tickets and passes for employees who use TARC, Humana is pre-paying for all 8,500 of its employees to use TARC’s services for their daily commute, as well as any other trip. For the average Humana employee with a 20-minute commute, taking TARC can save up to $1,100 a year in gas costs. Additional savings can be realized in reduced parking, insurance, maintenance and depreciation costs related to car ownership and use.
Humana is the first private company to provide this transportation benefit for its employees.
“We’ve all seen the headlines: Gas at $3 a gallon. Global warming caused in part by car emissions. Frustrated drivers stuck in traffic. It all adds up to a commuting nightmare,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “But there is a better way — and Humana employees have discovered it.”
Humana is following the lead of Metro Government. Three years ago, Metro partnered with TARC to allow all Metro employees to ride the bus for free by flashing their government ID.
The program has been a success. From May 2006 to May 2007, Metro employees logged 17,000 rides, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year.
“This program has numerous benefits,” Abramson said. “It saves families money on gas. It saves families money on parking fees. It saves wear and tear on cars. It helps save the environment, and it helps TARC improve and expand its services.”
Bonnie Hathcock, Humana’s senior vice president of Human Resources, said Humana is proud to support a public transportation system that is dedicated to a vibrant downtown
“This initiative reflects our CEO’s commitment to reducing our company’s carbon footprint, and forms part of Humana’s larger vision to exercise corporate social responsibility,” she said.
In addition to the pass program, Humana is partnering with TARC on a one-year demonstration to provide “Next Bus” information to employees at three of its downtown locations. Under a grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), TARC is developing this new technology so people waiting for a bus or trolley will know how long they will have to wait for the next ride. This allows TARC riders to buy a cup of coffee, make a phone call or continue working until the next bus comes.
Under the partnership, TARC is equipping trolleys with Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) devices that can communicate with video display terminals, beaming “real-time” arrival information to Humana lobbies and offices. Humana is providing plasma display terminals and selecting the locations.