With commute times increasing across the country, the negative impact on commuters is getting worse. But there are several creative ways government and business can help commuters.
Here are 3 ways to help relieve the stress of commuters.
Relax attendance policies
How strict is your workplace in letting people take time off or having a flexible schedule? Do you have employees furiously trying to finish work so they can leave early to attend an event featuring their child?
Rather than making it more stressful for your employees, perhaps it would be easier to offer a more flexible schedule.
Your employees would appreciate not having to worry about whether their job loyalty will be questioned when they stay home with a sick child. They probably want to be on time for that child's ball game, too. There's also situations like dealing with a sick relative and others that occur in everyone's life.
Weather events like snowstorms and threatening thunder and lightning storms are probably a good time to let employees work from home or come in later.
Another idea is to plan opening and closing around special events in your area. Does it make sense to have your employees stuffed in the subway or stuck in a traffic jam because more people are in your area today? Probably not.
Mandate commuter benefits for everyone
Governments can make the lives of commuters a lot better if local or state laws are passed that mandate commuter benefits. Already, cities like New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. have mandated businesses with a certain amount of employees must offer commuter benefits to their workers.
Commuter benefits allow employees to save $265 per month tax-free to be used for public transit, rideshares, or qualified parking costs. The savings for employees range up to 40 percent off of the price of their commute, so it can make a big difference and become a desirable benefit to offer.
Businesses save too, because payroll taxes decrease. Businesses can save $41 per month per employee who takes advantage of the commuter benefits. If you have 50 employees participate for one year, the savings can top $24,000 annually. With 75 employees, you can save $36,000.
Invest in public transportation
Delayed trains. Crowded bus lines. Long drives just to get to a train station. Anyone who commutes on public transportation knows it can be a grind, to put it lightly. Federal and state governments can make sound investments in public transit. And it's a popular idea, too.
According to a study directed by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) National Transportation Finance Center along with its Social Science Research Center (SSRC), 74 percent of Americans say Congress should increase spending on public transportation.
Commuter benefits are great ways to help your employees save money and make the commute at least a little better. Download below the 101 Guide to understand how commuter benefits work: