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Employer-Sponsored Transit. A TDM Strategy for Encouraging Transit Ridership CUTA 2009 Conference and Trans-Expo November 7-11, 2009. Outline. Background: TDM and Smart Commute TDM Benefits for Transit Employer-sponsored Transit Mississauga Discount Transit Pilot Project

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employer sponsored transit

Employer-Sponsored Transit

A TDM Strategy for Encouraging Transit Ridership

CUTA 2009 Conference and Trans-Expo

November 7-11, 2009

  • Background: TDM and Smart Commute
  • TDM Benefits for Transit
  • Employer-sponsored Transit
  • Mississauga Discount Transit Pilot Project
  • Lessons Learned and Expected Results

Glenn Gumulka

Executive Director

Smart Commute Mississauga

Catherine Habel

Senior Program Advisor, TDM


definition of tdm
Definition of TDM
  • The use of policies, programs, services and products to influence whether, why, when, whereand how people travel.

Smart Commute works with various stakeholders to relieve traffic congestion, improve air quality and health, and reduce emissions that cause climate change.

tdm goals
TDM Goals
  • Save time, money and the environment by:
    • reducing traffic congestion
    • improving the movement of people, goods and services
    • increasing productivity
    • reducing greenhouse gas emissions
    • improving air quality
tdm strategies
TDM Strategies
  • mode shift
    • auto to non-auto, SOV to HOV
  • trip elimination
    • telework
  • trip reduction
    • trip chaining
  • peak spreading
    • flexible work hours
what is smart commute
What is Smart Commute?
  • Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) TDM program
  • Workplace-based commuter options program to encourage:
    • transit use
    • walking and cycling
    • carpooling and vanpooling
    • telework & alternative work hours
  • Partners – government, business community, NGOs, transit agencies, universities

A network of ten Local Smart Commutes (TMAs)

  • Regional development and coordination by Metrolinx
  • Local implementation by TMAs
Incorporated nonprofit organization

Funded by:

The City of Mississauga

The Region of Peel

Matching funding from Metrolinx

Corporate memberships

Partnerships with:

Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee

Mississauga Environmental Advisory Committee

TRCA Partners in Project Green

Mississauga Arts Council

About Smart Commute Mississauga

tdm supports for transit11
TDM Supports for Transit
  • Employer and Commuter Research Data
    • Workplace site assessments and commuter surveys
  • Commute Counselling
    • route planning
  • Incentives and Supportive Measures
    • Transit Pass Subsidies
    • Emergency Ride Home
    • Trip-End Improvements:
      • improved walking connections to transit stop
      • schedule and route information
      • on site transit ticket sale
    • Flex Time
    • other incentives and special promotions
  • Marketing and Outreach
employer sponsored vs volume incentive bulk discounts
Employer-sponsored VS. Volume Incentive (bulk) Discounts
  • Volume incentive purchase (VIP) or bulk discount:
    • transit agency provides discounted passes to employers
    • employer sells discounted transit passes back to employees
    • employer commits to purchasing/selling a minimum number of passes per month in order to receive the discount
employer sponsored vs volume incentive bulk discounts14
Employer-sponsored VS. Volume Incentive (bulk) Discounts
  • Employer subsidy:
    • employer pays for all or part of employee transit pass
    • usually administered through payroll deduction
    • employer can choose to provide a subsidy in addition to or instead of a transit-agency-provided bulk discount
  • Success factors:
    • good transit service
    • paid parking or parking shortage
    • strong employer endorsement
gtha precedents
GTHA Precedents
  • Municipalities in the GTHA have led the way, offering sponsored transit passes to their employees
  • TTC Volume Incentive Purchase (VIP) program
  • York Region RideSaver pilot project
  • City of Brampton Employee Annual Pass Program
  • Hamilton – HSR Employee Commuter Pass
mississauga discount transit pilot project
Mississauga Discount Transit Pilot Project

City of Mississauga provides matching transit discounts to Smart Commute Member employers who discount monthly passes for their employees

Maximum of 15% when an employer discounts by 25%

18 month pilot program

Evaluate after 12 months based on:

Mode shift and fare switching (survey)

Stop counts - tbd

Pass sales

Employer and employee satisfaction surveys

6 months to develop & implement evaluation recommendations

Smart Commute Mississauga exclusive selling agent

Market the program to corporate members

Collect an Agent fee to cover program management (1.5%)

All participants automatically registered in Emergency Ride Home program

why discount transit passes
Why Discount Transit Passes?

Only 9% of employees in the city regularly use public transit as their primary commute mode

Our surveys (over 5,000 employees) suggest:

14% are definitely willing to try public transit

19% are probably willing to try public transit

Potential demand

52,000 business to distribute passes

425,000 employees

What would encourage commuters to try transit?

35% lower fares

25% tickets for sale at my place of employment

33% a ride home in case of an emergency

why discount transit passes18
Why Discount Transit Passes?

Mississauga Transit Ridership Growth Strategy

Target to increase ridership by 25% over five years

Fare incentives including transit fare discounts are a key objective of the Ridership Growth Strategy

City of Mississauga Strategic Plan

Goal of doubling transit modal split in the next 40 years

Proven strategy for growing ridership

TTC V.I.P. (10% - 12% discounts) 220,000 passes sold in 2005

Winnipeg (EcoPass) – City provides 10% match on discounts of 30% or more

45% increase in ridership among participating employers with a similar program

Net monthly transit revenue increase of 30%

operational details
Operational Details

SC-Miss has an agreement with the City of Mississauga

Legal agreements with participating organizations and SC-Miss

Agree to participate for 12 consecutive months

Employees agree to participate for 12 consecutive months

Cancellation results in 6 month participation ban

Organizations register with SC-Miss

Individual participants register online using TransitZone.ca

Admin access for SC-Miss, transit agency and employer admin

transit zone
Transit Zone
  • www.transitzone.ca
  • web-based administration tool developed by Metrolinx
  • interim site being tested through Mississauga pilot project
  • will become part of the suite of SC TDM Online Services
  • Transit Zone is designed to work in other SC jurisdictions with similar programs
marketing campaign
Marketing Campaign

Two waves

3 weeks in June

3 weeks in September


Bus tail ads

In-bus advertising

Transit terminal poster

In-transit brochures

Banner stands


Outdoor signs

results to date
Results to Date

Two employers participating

City of Mississauga

McCormick Rankin / Ecoplans

In negotiations with several other employers


Requiring employers to invest is a significant barrier for many employers

“It’s the employees responsibility”

May contradict fair and equitable policies

Managing the program through payroll deductions is a barrier for many employers

Difficult to get payroll to buy-in

May not have the capability

Smart Commute membership as a condition of participation is a barrier for many employers especially smaller employers.

Restricting access to employers from within the City of Mississauga limits participation

12 month commitment for employers and employees is a barrier to participation

expected results
Expected Results
  • Individual: significant commute savings
  • Employer: increase access, employee retention, save on parking
  • Smart Commute: engage employers, incite commuters, generate revenue from agent fees
  • Transit: increase ridership and loyalty, generate revenue, support infrastructure and service improvements, marketing
thank you

Thank You


(905) 896-5941


(416) 874-5934