carma | 511 Contra Costa

Five Reasons Why You Should Change Up Your Commute (BTWD 2016)

You’ve probably noticed that traffic congestion in the Bay Area is as bad as it’s ever been, starting at 5 o’clock each morning. Congestion isn’t expected to get better anytime soon and is increasing faster than population and employment. So if you’ve been considering making the switch from commuting alone by car, now is the perfect time!
Here are 6 great reasons to make this the month you change up your commute:
#1: ‘Drive Less’ Commuter Incentive: Make the switch from driving alone to carpooling, taking transit, bicycling or walking for your commute even one day a week and 511 Contra Costa will give you a cash reward as part of the Drive Less Commuter Incentive Program. Get all the details here.
#2: Get There Faster: Transit, carpooling and vanpooling speed up your commute by granting you access to HOV lanes, while biking and walking help you bypass the backup of vehicles almost entirely.
#3: Alternative Commuters Are Healthier & Feel Better: Studies Show riding the bus or train to work is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. Research also shows commuting on foot or by bike is better for people’s mental health than driving.
#4: Tax Break for Taking Transit: Did you know you can set aside $255 per month in pre-tax dollars to pay for public transportation? You’ll save money by getting transit tickets & passes tax-free. Ask your employer for details on how to take advantage of this program.
Tri Delta Transit 2015 top logo#5: Free 20-ride Pass from Tri Delta Transit: The easiest way to find out if commuting by transit is for you is by giving it a try. Right now, Tri Delta Transit will let you do it for free. Let them know you want to commute by bus and they’ll send you a free 20-ride Pass, while supplies last. (Deadline to apply: February 14)
We want you to have the best possible experience while trying transit, so make sure to take advantage of all the resources available on the 511 Contra Costa website, with information on taking public transit, participating in vanpools, locating park-and-ride lots and much more. Happy commuting!

Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press

Car-Sharing Continues to Grow (2013)

a surplus of cars-haring services
Peer-to-peer car-sharing services continue to grow, and this poster seems to captures why: it’s cheap and easy, lettings folks “rent cars by the hour” from people in their neighborhood. Photo credit: Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester
In the Bay Area we are fortunate to have a variety of ways of getting around for work, shop, and play. Recently, BART and bicycling (including bike-sharing) have received a lot of attention but there’s a glorious buffet of transportation options out there. One of the fastest growing options is car-sharing. Car-sharing is a convenient and easy way to save (or make) some money while reducing your carbon footprint. Here’s a sampling of the car-sharing section of the transportation buffet in the Bay Area.
While there are formal car-sharing companies such as Zipcar and City CarShare, peer-to-peer car-sharing availability has grown considerably in Contra Costa County– just take a look at this map from RelayRides showing available cars in the East Bay:

contra costa ride relay

RelayRide cars are all over the East Bay. Image via: RelayRides

Check out the RelayRides video. It cleverly demonstrates the concept in just two and a half minutes:
For a full list of car-sharing options, check out our car-sharing page. Video credit: RelayRides
Then there are peer-to-peer ride-share and carpooling services, such as Lyft and Sidecar, in which you pull out your phone and within minutes someone comes picks you up in their car. This service is better suited for short and perhaps spontaneous trips across town. This type of service is currently focused in San Francisco, which can still be convenient if you commute into the city and need a ride to the other side of town.  The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is currently partnering with Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) and Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) to pilot a similar app called “Real-Time Ridesharing” or RTR.
One of the latest car-sharing services to hit the streets of the Bay Area is Flightcar, and it is specifically tailored to airport travel. If you have a car and are driving to SFO, you can leave it with a Flightcar attendant and they will allow other people to use your car while you are gone. Alternatively, if you are coming into SFO (or have guests flying in) – they can rent someone else’s car seamlessly, and safely, via Flightcar.  Head over to Flightcar and get the details.
Similar services such as Airbnb, which allow you to rent a room in someone’s house or list a room in your home for short-term rental, peer-to-peer car-sharing is just one more way we can all share our existing resources and make getting around easier.  It may seem like there is an air of mystery with these kinds of shared services but once you try them you quickly find out they are quite reliable, and predictable.  Many peer-to-peer car-sharing services even prescreen users, link to their facebook profiles, and allow users to rate each other so you can rest easily knowing a bit about the person you rent your car to or from. So sit back, relax, and check out some of the peer-to-peer car-sharing services we’ve highlighted or head over to our car-sharing page for more similar services in the Bay Area.