Let’s face it – the daily commute can be a slog, not to mention a drain on your bank account. For most of us, getting in the car each morning is such a part of our daily routine that we don’t even think of exploring alternatives. Well, here are some things you might not know you make you think twice the next time you’re getting ready to fight traffic:
- For most people, transportation-related costs are second only to their mortgages in terms of household expenses. That’s right – you probably spend more feeding and taking care of your car than you do on health insurance.
- The average American spends almost two weeks a year stuck in traffic. For a lot of us, that’s more time than we get in vacation. What would you do if you got that two weeks back?
For most of us, commuting is expensive, it’s boring, and it sucks up time we’d rather be enjoying with friends, family, or just a good book.
RIDE Solutions can help you take back your day and refill your bank account. Membership is free and gives you access to regional carpool matching, our Guaranteed Ride Home program, contests, incentives, and more.
RIDE Solutions Guaranteed Ride Home Program provides any registered member a free ride home in the event of an emergency. This commuting “insurance policy” is your assurance you will not get stranded at work. This free program is available for up to twelve (12) free rides a year.
Valley Metro Moving
Valley Metro Downtown transfer station will begin operations at Third Street station this Monday, February 28. Read the full announcement here (Link to Facebook post)
Valley Metro is offering FARE-FREE service for the next two weeks: February 28 to March 13. This includes all valley metro routes, SmartWay, SmartWay Express, and Star Service. Find the details here: Valley Metro Third Street Station
Explore Your Transit Options
Benefits of Transit
Taking public transit is a great way for commuters to save money, wear and tear on their vehicle, improve regional air quality, and include a healthy activity in your day. And commuters can use the travel time to read or relax.
- Provides an economical alternative to your monthly gas bill
- Provides time to read, relax, view emails
- Provides a tangible way to positively impact local air quality by reducing a commuter’s carbon footprint
- Can possibly reduce auto insurance. Contact your auto insurance agent, some insurers will change the status of your vehicle to “leisure auto” and lower your auto premium.
- Possible tax break. The Commuter Tax Benefit program allows commuters the opportunity to pay for a portion of their commuting expenses with pre-tax dollars.
Valley Metro offers bikes on bus service. There is no charge for using the bike racks on the front of the buses. If the bike rack is full, you may ask the bus operator if there is room to bring your bike on the bus without causing safety issues. If the bike rack is full, and there is no room on the bus you will need to wait for the next bus that comes along.
RIDE Solutions can help you find the best transit option and as a RIDE Solutions member, are eligible for the Guaranteed Ride Home program.
Get There By Rail
Amtrak service to anywhere in the country can be accessed via Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Clifton Forge.
Amtrak has now expanded its carry-on bike program for Northeast Regional trains operating in Virginia, allowing passengers to store their bike inside the passenger coach for a nominal fee. Learn more here.
Interested in starting or joining a carpool?
RIDE Solutions has made finding carpool partners easy. Our member database includes people who are interested in carpooling, as well as information on their origin/destination points, work schedule, and preference for driving, riding, or alternating.
Sign up with RIDE Solutions to request a free carpool match list.
Think no one around you carpools? Check out our Current Carpoolers map and see the general starting point of our many RIDE Solutions carpool opportunities.
How do I get a carpool started?
RIDE Solutions has made finding carpool partners easy. We maintain a database of people who are interested in carpooling, as well as information on their origin and destination points, their work schedule, and preference for driving, riding, or alternating. Think no one around you carpools? Check out our Commuter Map and see. It has the general starting point every carpooler in our database.
Once you’ve got your match list from us, there are a couple of ways you can organize your carpool:
- One person can be the designated driver, while riders chip in for gas each week.
- Carpoolers can take turns with driving duties – switching day to day or week to week. This way, no one vehicle takes the brunt of all the driving.
- Because many of our members prefer to do all the driving, carpooling is even a option for folks who don’t have a car. Just pitch in for gas, and you’re good to go.
- You can arrange carpools with folks in your immediate neighborhood, or use one of the area’s park-and-ride lots to meet other commuters and carpool to your final destination.
Request a Route
You can request information on safe bike routes directly from RIDE Solutions.
Enjoy the Ride
If you’re considering switching to biking or walking as a healthier, cleaner alternative to driving for your daily commute, or simply enjoying taking advantage of the region’s greenways, trails, and bike paths for recreational use, the Roanoke and New River Valleys and the Region 2000 area offer ample opportunities for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Even if your trip is long, consider walking or biking for part of your trip. Use one of the Park & Ride Lots or you can walk or ride to the bus and put your bike on the bus. View the transit drop-down for a comprehensive list of regional services.
Commuting by Bike
Cycling to work or school is simple, healthy, clean, and economical. We have gathered a compilation of safety and commuter tips and resources to assist all bicyclists – from beginner to advanced – have a safe and fun bicycling experience.
Finding a Biking or Walking Route
Would you like to bike or walk to work, school, transit or shopping? Developing the best route to your destination is not always easy and often requires trial and error in finding the best route. Travel time, road conditions, bicycle facilities, traffic flow and geography are all considered when planning your route.
Safety should always be a top concern for cyclists riding on the street with cars. There are a number of steps that bicyclists can take to improve both their safety and that of the motorists on the road. Bicyclists should always ride with caution, obey all traffic laws and behave predictably.
Details to Consider
Commuting by bicycle forces you to consider the weather and make plans for transporting clothes, work or school supplies, and other necessities. In addition, having a secondary transportation option, in the event of an emergency is important. Local Planner and avid cyclists Shane Sawyer has developed the Guide to Bicycle Commuting (link to edited/shortened version of Shane’s summary) that outlines some great tips and considerations for commuting by bicycle to work.
Guaranteed Ride Home: RIDE Solutions Guaranteed Ride Home Program provides any registered member a freed ride home in the event of an emergency. This bike commuting “insurance policy” is your assurance you will not get stranded at work.
Transporting Bikes on Buses: Sometimes the distance to bike to work is too far or there is a gap in route options, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of local buses. All of the buses in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and Lynchburg are equipped with bike racks located on the front of the bus.
Bike Shops, Clubs, and Resources: Within the southwestern RIDE Solutions region of New River and Roanoke Valleys, greater Lynchburg area, and West Piedmont area is a wealth of opportunities with which to experience our beautiful rolling terrain and plentiful rivers. Further, there are many cyclists and bike shops in the area to provide you with information, expertise, and bicycling camaraderie.
Commuting on Foot
Walking is the most common and used form of transportation. It is also one of the easiest and least expense forms of exercise. However, in a car-centric world, developing a strategy to ensure you stay safe and visible is important. Further, expanding the pedestrian environment – sidewalk, crosswalks, pedestrian islands, etc. – has become a focus and desire for all of the localities within the RIDE Solutions region.
Walking Routes: Would like to walk to the store, transit, shopping, or school? Get your neighborhood’s Walkscore to learn how walkable your neighborhood is. The Walkscore tool will rate the overall walkability of your home address, including access to things like grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and so forth.
Telework, or telecommuting, is yet one more option to reducing your commute costs and getting more out of your workday.
As employees become more connected to their workplaces without being at their workplace, the familiar elements of 9-5 schedules, cubicles, and conference rooms become more flexible tools of a workday. Such distinctions can actually be obstacles for workers whose creativity and work styles don’t fit these traditional patterns.
For some workers, the changes in technology can eliminate the traditional work commute altogether. Via telework, workers can maintain their productivity – in many cases even increase it – while working from home. And telework is good for business, reducing the infrastructure demand for parking and office space while providing a valuable lifestyle benefit to high-quality, creative employees.
RIDE Solutions offers support in creating telework programs through our Workplace Program. We provide employers with technical assistance to determine if teleworking is right for their business and employees, develop policies, and determine the technical capacities needed to successfully launch a program. We can also help you determine how you’ll evaluate the success of your program and ensure employees continue to be productive and accountable even when they aren’t at their desks.
More information and tools for creating a telework program are also available at the Telework!VA website.
Commuting Safely and Confidently: Tips for Businesses and Commuters in the COVID-19 Environment