With the economy continuing to be a problem for may municipalities, perhaps it is time for local businesses to think about ways to ensure that workers who do not drive, do not own a vehicle, and depend on public transportation have a means of getting to and from work. Clayton County, Georgia has lost its public transit system, a situation that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. Whenever a major city can no longer fund public transportation routes for residents, businesses suffer. In the Atlanta Metro area, the MARTA bus system is looking to cut more routes to save money due to the extensive budget shortfall that threatens the city and surrounding areas in regard to servicing the community and tourism.
‘Every day, millions of people nationwide travel roads and highways as they commute to work. And some do so with a little help from the companies they work for or other organizations,’ says Allison Miles who interviewed Alisha Hoehl, for the Victoria Advocate.com in Victoria, Texas. ‘Inteplast began its employee shuttle service in June 2007, when gas prices spiked,’ said Hoehl, the company’s human resources administrator. ‘Employees purchase monthly passes for $30 and receive rides to and from work every day,’ Hoehl said, explaining, ‘the company sold 223 shuttle passes in February. Since most employees work about 15 days a month, it comes to about $1 each way…the company saw the benefits because they were losing employees who could not afford the commute; the service helped stabilize Inteplast’s workforce,’ Hoehl said (Miles, 2010, p. 1).
According to the United States Census Bureau, ‘76% of workers drive to work alone. Only 10% of workers car pool. Five percent take public transportation if available, and 3.4 million workers experience extreme commutes of 90 or more minutes daily,’ typical for the Atlanta Metro area. Thinking critically about how workers are affected by municipal cuts in public transportation during times of economic difficulty can also ensure that a company remains competitive and successful. Mr. Les Garcia transportation operations manager for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission in Texas reported that,’ the Inteplast programs’ popularity stems from the increase in gas prices and the need for people to get to places…’ (Miles, 2010, p. 1). Perhaps our regional transportation planning commission can help employers bridge the transportation gap by looking into helping companies develop their own shuttle services for Clayton County workers and others affected by the elimination of public transportation, and routes.
Miles, A. (2010). Companies and organizations do their part to help people get to work. Victoria, TX: Victoria Advocate Publishing Company. p. 1. Retrieved April 11, 2010 from http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2010/apr/08/ym_am_commuters_041110_90395/