By Katy Bryce for Commute Options
Thanks to Sisters bike shop Blazin Saddles, teachers, staff and administrators from Sisters School District can now get rewards for using active transportation such as biking, walking and carpooling through the Commute Options Partner (COP) program.
The COP program offers a wide variety of benefits for employers and their employees. Employees at a COP business track their trips—walking, biking, carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus and teleworking—online at www.commuteoptions.org, then go to Drive Less Connect. After 45 round trips of using an option other than driving alone, participants receive a $20 gift certificate to one of over 20 local businesses. COP businesses also receive assistance and advice with carpool coordination, bike commuting resources, and transit options.
Sisters School District is one of those workplaces that draws employees from both nearby Sisters and from all over the region, so participating in the Commute Options Partner program is an excellent way to encourage employees for carpooling, biking, and walking to work. For those living in the town of Sisters, walking and biking are wonderful active transportation options. For employees who live outside of Sisters, carpooling or vanpooling can help workers save money and reduce wear and tear on their vehicles.
The District’s participation in the COP program is possible due to help from Blazin Saddles, the local bike shop in Sisters. Registration costs for the program are based on number of employees, but Blazin Saddles felt that it was important that one of Sisters’ largest employers, at 110 employees, had the opportunity to participate in the program. So they decided to pay for the District’s registration fee.
Blazin’ Saddles co-owner, Casey Meudt is happy to invest in active transportation, particularly bike commuting, in Sisters. “Sisters is very popular for recreational biking, but the commuting aspects can always use improvement. We actively support the Commute Options programs that encourage people to commute by biking and also support the Sisters Trail Alliance in the creation of more paths and trails that link residential subdivisions to town. We are trying to help as much as we can.” Blazin Saddles also sells bikes and accessories that make commuting easy and more enjoyable. Meudt himself commutes to work by bike, virtually every day. “Even in the winter, I ride my fat bike to work,” he adds.
For employers, the COP program is a very inexpensive employee benefit that incentivizes workers to not drive alone. In urban settings, the program helps free up parking by encouraging workers to drive less, leaving more parking spaces for customers and shoppers.
Employers have everything to gain from supporting transportation options for their workforce. Helping your employees put fewer miles on their cars will help curb pollution, reduce congestion, support employee health and reduce stress. A happy employee is a productive employee!
Contact Commute Options for more information about how we can help your business.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org
Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com