Cars have been the go-to commuting option for employees since what seems like the beginning of time. The freedom of coming and going at any time of the day is hard benefit to pass up. Unfortunately, because of this freedom, traffic has become a major issue for most cities — turning that perceived freedom into more of a burden.
With the rise of ridehailing companies like Uber and Lyft, the way people use cars to get around has changed drastically. While ridehailing services are primarily geared toward personal use, like cabs, these companies have not neglected commuters. As with most things that are almost too convenient, the price of taking an Uber or Lyft every day can quickly add up. That’s where employers can help!
Corporate ridehailing accounts
Corporate accounts with ridehailing companies help employees get to and from work when other forms of transit might not be available, whether that’s due to the time of day or the location of the office.
No two employee commutes are exactly alike, even if coworkers live within a few blocks of each other. Transit stops are abundant in some areas and scarce in others. The convenience of micromobility options like bikeshare and electric scooters have opened new lines of access, but, like public transit, some smaller cities don’t have the same level of supply or demand. Ridehailing is bridging this gap by allowing anyone with a valid license and an approved vehicle to turn their car into a personal car service.
Ridehailing services also assist in the first- and last-mile concerns plaguing many commuters. Put simply, that’s the distance from a transit stop such as a metro station or bus stop, to an employee’s front door. Taking public transit is convenient – once you’re at the station! Many people don’t have the luxury of living next to a train station due to inflated housing costs and would still have to travel another mile or two after an already long commute. Calling an Uber to get home – even if it’s just a few dollars – can significantly add up over time, especially if it’s twice a day.
Commuter benefits and ridehailing
Pre-tax dollars have largely been put towards public transit passes for access to metro trains or city buses. Now, employees can put pre-tax dollars on a prepaid commuter benefits debit card and upload that form of payment to their ridehailing account. This turns Lyfts from commuting luxuries into extensions of public transit.
Ridehailing companies launched business features as a way for companies to pay for employee trips centered around getting to work. Whether it’s from home to the office or the commute to a transit stop, the financial burden weighing on the commuter adds up. Offering to pay for all or some portion of trips taken for business or commuting reasons can significantly increase employee satisfaction — while still giving you the option to monitor, analyze, and encourage the more sustainable option of shared rides over private rides.
Setting up a business account can be done right through Uber, Lyft, or Via’s website. After initial setup, employers or administrators have the ability to monitor and control how employees are using business accounts. After the account is set up, it’s important to make this benefit known, as well as help employees get signed up. There’s no point in investing in benefits to ease your employees’ lives if they’re not taking advantage of them!
A ridehailing company business account is perfect for employees who don’t work the same hours as the majority of your workforce. Employees who get to the office early or leave later than most can be the perfect group to provide this commuting option, since public transit may not be as available during those times. Through these accounts, the admin user can set usage restrictions based on time, day, and the location of rides.
Because Uber and Lyft have a significant presence in cities all over the world, Via offers a few extra options in an effort to establish themselves as a real player in the market.. To speak directly to the commuter, Via offers discounted commuting passes available for $189 per month, which covers all rides between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with discounted rides to and from the airport. They also provide first- and last-mile connections for Chicago-based commuters, with a $2.50 flat rate from the L to their front door..
Carsharing for business
Sometimes employees need their own car without owning one. Carsharing companies like ZipCar and car2go allow users to unlock a car, drive to their destination, and park. While both companies allow users to make stop during their trip, ZipCar requires vehicles be parked in their original location at the end of the trip. Users who opt for car2go, on the other hand, are allowed to park in authorized parking spots that are convenient for them.
ZipCar users on a business account receive a Zipcard in mail, which provides them the benefits that come with their company’s account. Benefits include flat rental rates, discounted rates on weekdays, gas cards, and more. Not only does this afford employees the freedom of owning a car, it also eliminates the burden of actually owning their own car.
ZipCar also offers direct-to-commuter plans. These plans allow users to purchase monthly passes that gives them solo access to a ZipCar for entire workweeks. Users can park the car wherever is convenient for them during the week, and only have to park in the original spot by 7 p.m. Friday night.
Business accounts for car2go are broken down into two options: business profiles and business accounts. A business profile is for users who cover their own expenses, but allow for the distinction between the business account and personal accounts when riding. The business account is for an employer who has five or more users on the account. This allows employers to track trips, monthly spending, and authorized users.
Signing your team up
Maybe one of the most important features admin users can take advantage of is the ability to restrict rides to shared rides only. The whole point of providing commuter benefits is to get employees from being in the car alone, not turning an Uber into a single-occupancy vehicle. If riders choose to use their pre-tax dollars for ridehailing, the only option is shared rides. Since these companies are doing their part, you should be too.
Ridehailing and carsharing accounts benefit both the employer and employee. Saving money and time while reducing commute stress improves overall productivity. Knowing which company to choose is entirely up to what you think will be the most effective and useful for their employees. They’ll be grateful to you for recognizing their need for flexibility, and for supporting a more sustainable commute.