From: ENN
Published August 25, 2005 12:00 AM

U.S. EPA and DOT Recognize Flexcar as a 'Best Workplace for Commuters'

SEATTLE — Today, Flexcar, the nation's leading carsharing provider, was designated as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).


Best Workplaces for Commuters, a partnership program designed to cut traffic congestion and traffic-related air pollution, recognizes employers that provide environmentally friendly commuter benefits to employees. Offering these commuter benefits identifies Flexcar as an organization committed to reducing pollution, commuting costs, traffic congestion, and employee stress caused by single-occupant vehicle commuting.


The designation is a logical fit for Flexcar, as its program perfectly complements and supports a non-vehicle commute. Via the Internet, Flexcar members can instantly reserve any of hundreds of low-emission vehicles, including gas/electric hybrids, pickup trucks and minivans located throughout five major metro areas, including Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C.


Members reserve the vehicles for hourly use with Flexcar covering the cost of the car, gas, parking, insurance, and maintenance. Most of these vehicles are located in dense urban areas and business centers. For commuters, it means they have access to a car at the office without driving to the office.


According to Margo Oge, EPA director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the effects of incentive programs like Best Workplaces for Commuters can be dramatic. "If just half of all U.S. employees were covered under these commuter benefits," said Oge, "traffic and air pollution could be cut by the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road every year, saving American workers about $12 billion in fuel costs. That's both cleaner air and real savings for families."


Since launching the U.S. carsharing industry in 1998, Flexcar has since won numerous awards and commendations for reducing congestion, air pollution and energy use, and increasing use of public transit while contributing to sustainable communities. Research from Flexcar as well as independent entities has clearly shown that carsharing programs take cars off the road, reduce annual miles traveled and increase the use of public transit. These studies indicate that roughly 60 percent of members have either sold or decided not to purchase a vehicle because of the program, thus removing thousands of vehicles and thousands of tons of emissions from circulation.


"We know that it takes a lot to get a commuter out of their car and into a different commuting option," said Lance Ayrault, Flexcar's CEO. "That's why we not only offer commuter benefits to our own employees, but work with employers and transit agencies across the country to offer Flexcar to their employees. We've found that when a car at the office is an option, interest in alternative commute options goes up."


Best Workplaces for Commuters: Best Workplaces for Commuters (www.bwc.gov) is a public-private partnership developed by the EPA and DOT. EPA and DOT have established a voluntary National Standard of Excellence for employer-provided commuter benefits. The program challenges employers across the country to voluntarily meet the National Standard of Excellence.


About Flexcar: Headquartered in Seattle, Flexcar founded the U.S. carsharing industry and now operates carsharing programs for more than 30,000 members in more than a dozen cities and counties in 5 states and the District of Columbia. With flexible pricing plans, members can reserve and drive any of these cars whenever and wherever they need to, without filling out complicated paperwork, paying for insurance, gas or repairs. Flexcar Business Memberships enable companies to augment or replace their fleet with Flexcar vehicles. Flexcar's fleet includes sedans, gas-electric hybrids, and specialty vehicles including pickups, AWD, minivans and convertibles. Flexcar has established strategic partnerships with King County (Wash.) Metro, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Parsons Transportation Group, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and Bristol Bay Native Corporation.


Source: Business Wire, Flexcar


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