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Seven Commuter-Friendly Companies

August 12, 2008
Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Workforce Planning, Featured Article
Bank of America: The Charlotte, North Carolina-based financial institution, which has 200,000 employees worldwide, offers a $3,000 stipend to employees who purchase gas-electric hybrid vehicles. Since the program went nationwide in February 2007, Bank of America has shelled out nearly $6 million to help its workers cut their gasoline expenses and reduce their carbon output.
Principal Financial: The Des Moines, Iowa-based financial services firm underwrites a deal with the local public transit authority that allows its 8,000 employees to ride local buses for free, simply by flashing their company IDs. For employees who don’t live close to a bus stop, Principal contributes $35 a month to the cost of participating in a van-pooling program. The company also helps employees avoid the need to drive by providing a pharmacy and dry cleaning on site. Principal is also building a child care center.
F5 Networks: Two years ago, 80 percent of the Seattle-based business software provider’s 600 employees drove to work. Then the company began offering $300 a month to anyone who would take public transportation or bike to work. Today, more than half of the workforce is taking advantage of the offer.
Pitney Bowes: The Stamford, Connecticut-based maker of postage meters and other mailing solutions offers a variety of measures to make commuting easier for its 1,000 employees in the state. A company shuttle runs every 15 minutes during the morning and evening between the Stamford railroad station and the company’s two locations in the city, and the company has a special page on its intranet where employees can view and print train and bus schedules. Pitney Bowes also allows employees to work compressed workweeks and to flex their schedules to avoid rush hour.
Microsoft: The software giant, which is based in Redmond, Washington, and has 39,000 employees at its headquarters, offers its own private bus system to pick up workers in the Puget Sound area. Microsoft says the program eliminates 800 vehicle trips and 32,200 miles of employee travel each day. Not only does that make commuting easier, but it eliminates 3,800 tons of carbon emissions annually—a big plus to climate change-conscious techies.
Safeco: The Seattle insurer has more than 2,000 employees in the Puget Sound area, 90 percent of whom take public transportation or bike to work. The company makes it easier for them by subsidizing their use of Zipcar, a Boston-based rental company that enables users to reserve vehicles by the hour or the day online and pick them up at various locations around Seattle.
STS Telecom: The Cooper City, Florida-based provider of conventional and hosted Voice over Internet Protocol phone service reimburses employees for a portion of their daily commute—about $2 for each gallon of gas they use. In addition, the 75-employee company offers $250 toward the lease or purchase of a gas-electric hybrid car.

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