A new partnership with six California agencies aims to support customers looking to improve their commutes after two years of pandemic-induced disruption by providing seamless access to carpool and vanpool ride-matching and eligibility-based trip rewards.
The six agencies, which each operate commuter programs in their jurisdictions, integrated their commuter platforms to advance shared goals of reducing traffic congestion and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The agencies include the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Commute.org (San Mateo County), the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA), the Solano Transportation Authority (STA), the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM).
The new partnership expands ride-match opportunities and customer support, particularly for those commuting across county lines. When commuters access information from one agency, they will now have the choice to see information from all relevant agencies through a single user account. This provides commuters the ability to expand their carpool match search and learn about all the commuter rewards that may fit their travel pattern. The launch of the integrated database is aptly timed as more people resume in-person work attendance.
“This solution best serves commuters who want to find carpool partners,” said Barbara Laurenson, MTC Principal Program coordinator. “The timing couldn’t be better as COVID-19 fears wane, gas prices increase and more dire news about the climate is released.”
Customers who already have an account with one of the participating programs will now see prompts on their dashboard to participate in other programs for which they are eligible. New customers who do not already have an account with one of the participating agencies can either join MTC’s regional program, Merge, or enroll in the commute program for the county in which they live or work. This becomes the customer’s “home program” and that interface will prompt the customer to participate in other programs that touch their commute pattern. In all cases, the customer can use a single login to access all their program accounts.
MTC says the new seamless Bay Area carpool and commuter network is the first in the nation to link multiple independent agency programs, each powered by commute management technology from Santa Monica, Calif.-based, RideAmigos. In addition to the benefits for Bay Area commuters, the integration enables deeper collaboration between agencies working to improve transportation in the region.
“Commute.org recognizes that to solve the transportation challenges in San Mateo County, we need to have strong partnerships with our peer agencies in the region,” said John Ford, executive director, Commute.org. “Nearly 60 percent of the San Mateo County workforce travels to work from outside the county. This project opens up new ways to connect with those commuters, spur meaningful changes in drive-alone rates and promote better Bay Area air quality.”
“We have been partnering with individual Bay Area agencies for nearly a decade to encourage smarter transportation,” added RideAmigos Director of Customer Success Kathryn Hagerman Medina. “Connecting these programs creates a seamless user experience for carpool and commuter rewards across the region and, at the same time, empowers individual agencies to collaborate in powerful new ways.”
Residents interested in participating can learn more and get started at merge.511.org or log into their county system. Merge.511.org is available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.