According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average commuter releases 23.3 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air on every drive-alone trip to work. That’s more than 5,500 pounds a year.
You can help improve Massachusetts’ air quality and save money at the same time with the commuter options available from MassRIDES, a program of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
Commuting by Car
MassRIDES enables neighbors, coworkers, and friends to drive to work together.
- Carpooling — Find carpool buddies in your local area using NuRide’s free ridematching service.
- Vanpooling — Get to work easier and greener by commuting with a vanpool. You can find an existing vanpool route or start your own. Massachusetts also offers vanpool subsidies for groups that are part of the vanpool program. Characteristics of a vanpool group include commuters who have a common:
- Work schedule;
- Starting point; and
- Work destination.
Residents choosing to carpool or vanpool into the Boston area can also get to work faster using High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (HOV). MassDOT also offers many Park and Ride parking lots in the Commonwealth for carpoolers and vanpoolers who want to drive their cars to a meeting place.
Commuting by Public Transportation
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding parking or being stuck in traffic, leave your car in the driveway and ride public transportation. Different services are offered at each of the Commonwealth’s 16 Regional Transit Authorities, so you can choose a commute that best suits your needs.
Walking and Biking
During the warmer months, walking and bicycling are great environmentally friendly commuting alternatives if you wish to spend time outdoors and enjoy some physical activity. If you live in Metro Boston, the Hubway bike-sharing system enables you to commute green without having to purchase your own bicycle.
The Benefits of Choosing a Green Commute Option in Massachusetts
The Commonwealth rewards you for choosing an environmentally friendly commute by providing benefits including:
- Tax Deductions — If you purchase the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) weekly or monthly pass for the bus, subway, commuter rail, or boat system or pay tolls through a E-ZPass Massachusetts account, you are able to claim a commuter deduction on your state income taxes.
- Vanpool Subsidies — Groups that are part of the vanpool program are given up to $600 each month if they lease their vans directly from a participating vanpool vendor.
- Rewards — If you carpool, vanpool, take public transit, walk, bike, or telework, you can also receive rewards with NuRide, which enables you to earn discounts at local and national restaurants and retailers.
- Emergency Rides Home — Many green commuters are also eligible for the Emergency Ride Home program, which reimburses residents up to $100 up to four times per calendar year to get home in case of an emergency.
Interested in saving money and the environment all at once? See which MassRIDES options work for you and try a program for a week or two. Even if you commute green just a few days a week, you’re making an impact.
What’s your favorite environmentally friendly way to get to work? Comment or tweet us @MassGov.
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