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Company description: Family and employee-owned, HomeStreet Bank is one of the largest private banks in the Northwest.  

Why the company has invested in its commute program: HomeStreet Bank is committed to operating in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.  One part of being a "green" employer is offering comprehensive commuter assistance benefits.  The financial investment in our commuter benefits is completely in line with our corporate values, and especially worthwhile because it helps the environment and helps our employees be smart commuters.

Strategies used:   We subsidize 50% of commuter passes via a pre-tax payroll deduction, so employees save even more money.  Our company intranet has a Commuter Information portal with links to our policies, a ride share bulletin board, access to regional transportation websites, and much more.  Our Home Office (downtown Seattle) includes bike lockers and showers/locker rooms for bicycle commuters.  We offer a guaranteed ride home in case of emergency and free Flexcar usage for business and personal reasons, which encourages employees to leave their cars at home.

Results/outcomes:  We have seen an increase in commuter pass subsidy enrollment with the implementation of Flexcar.  Employees are, in fact, using the Ride Home program.  Comments have been received on the quality and usefulness of the Commuter Information portal on our intranet.  Overall, the feedback from employees has been enthusiastically positive.

Advice to share with other companies?   It may seem daunting to implement a new commuter program.  Start small or with quick wins.  For example, the pre-tax deduction for bus passes is pretty easy to implement and employees appreciate it.  In a nutshell, break your “dream program” into bite-sized chunks and implement in phases, maybe over a period of 1-3 years.