New Bay Area Commuter Benefit Policy
With S.B. 1339 passed, are you more likely to pedal as part of your commute?
Photo credit: Carrie Cizauskas
In September 2012, Governor Brown passed into law S.B. 1339 – legislation that allows the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to implement a region-wide Bay Area commuter policy benefiting employees who work at least 20 hours per week for an employer with 50 or more full-time employees in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The purpose of the legislation is to encourage commuting by means other than single passenger automobile travel.
While some Bay Area cities already have commuter benefit policies to encourage the use of public transit or bicycling, the passage of S.B. 1339 will require select employers to offer one of the following commute benefits:
- The option to pay for transit, vanpooling or bicycling expenses with pre-tax dollars, as allowed by IRS Code 132(f) – the Transportation Fringe Benefit
- A transit or vanpool subsidy of at least $75 per month in 2013 and adjusted annually for inflation thereafter
- Access to a free shuttle or vanpool operated by or for the employer
- A customized alternative program by the employer that provides similar benefits in reducing single-occupant vehicles and is approved by MTC or BAAQMD