In an effort to curb the growing commute for thousands of Harvard employees, University Transportation Services has launched CommuterChoice – a new program aimed at encouraging Harvard faculty and staff to use modes of transportation other than driving to work alone. With University parking facilities unable to keep pace with the increased demand among Harvard’s growing workforce, one of the program’s key strategies is to maximize current parking facilities through carpools and vanpools.
“Getting people out of their cars and into carpools is very difficult,” admits Jane Lindsay of Ashton Associates, a transportation consulting company working with the University. “Harvard is trying to develop programs that at least give people information about costs and alternatives.”
For those interested in forming a carpool or vanpool, CommuterChoice offers substantial discounts on parking for participants. Employees who carpool with one other employee receive 50 percent off their parking fees. Those with three or more employees receive 75 percent off their parking fees. While employees who form a vanpool of 10 or more people, half of whom are Harvard employees, will receive free parking in a designated space. To alleviate fears of being stranded in the event of a family or medical emergency, the Guaranteed Ride Home Program provides a free taxi ride or rental car to any carpool or vanpool members who must leave work during the day.
In addition to carpooling, CommuterChoice provides information on bicycling routes and safety, and a Shuttle Van Service, designed for people with mobility impairments or medical conditions that make taking the regular shuttle service difficult.
To register with CommuterChoice call (617) 384-RIDE or visit the Web site at http://www.commuterchoice.harvard.edu.
In another measure to improve traffic in and around Harvard Square, the Cambridge based company Zipcar has an agreement with the University to allow several of their cars to be located on Harvard’s property. Zipcar provides low-cost, convenient transportation to urban residents who only need a car occasionally, thus helping to reduce the number of cars in the city. Hourly rates range from $4.50 to $9 depending on the vehicle. Zipcar members must be 21 years of age. For more information call (617) 491-9900 or visit the Web site at http://www.zipcar.com.