“Staff at the Regional Municipality of York (York Region) are committed to providing cost effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.”
– Corporate Mission Statement
York Region is an organization that is dedicated to providing benefits to its carpooling employees in order to set a positive example for those who are currently commuting alone. They are a leader in the Smart Commute program and continue to demonstrate their commitment to transportation sustainability by implementing services and promotions to make commuting easier, healthier and more enjoyable for their employees.
York Region’s TDM measures include promotion of transit use, active commuting, compressed work week, and of course, carpooling. Parking can be difficult at York Region, especially for employees arriving to work past 8:30 a.m. There is an insufficient number of parking spaces for every staff member to drive a car to work, but there’s good news for carpoolers: There are twenty designated carpool spaces at the administration building in Newmarket, and York Region also supports carpooling at two other locations with an additional eleven parking spaces. By supporting carpooling, York Region is assisting their staff to get to work on time and rewarding carpoolers with premium parking spaces.
“Parking Your Car at York Region” was recorded between 8:15 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. This footage shows the fully occupied parking lot, with the exception of the premium parking spots in the centre for carpooling staff.
How York Region encourages sustainable transportation to their employees
York Region continuously promotes carpooling to their employees through new employee orientation sessions which occur seven to eight times a year. The TDM coordinator introduces staff to the Smart Commute program and www.carpoolzone.ca, and fully explains the carpool program.
Carpooling is also promoted through York Region’s internal e-newsletter, York Beat, which is distributed to employees two to three times a week. Along with internal promotions, York Region encourages carpooling through external communications including the organization’s website, www.york.ca, under the Services section.
York Region regularly hosts SCCY outreaches to educate its employees about carpooling. York Region employees have the opportunity to meet with the SCCY team and participate in activities such as Calculating their Commute to see how their daily commute impacts their life and the environment. While visiting the outreach, employees are informed about York Region’s carpooling services and are encouraged to register their existing carpool on Carpool Zone. As an added incentive, employees receive giveaways and have the chance to enter themselves into draws to win prizes such as an iPod Nano, Tim Horton gift cards, or a Smart Commuter Prize Pack. They also have the opportunity to visit with partnering organizations to increase awareness of alternate means of transportation.
York Region participates in all Smart Commute events such as Clean Air Commute, Car Free Day and Bike to Work Day – all of which encourage people to carpool.
During this year’s Car Free Day, York Region worked with SCCY to promote More Parks, Less Parking which transformed a parking space into a green space for a day.
Carpoolers must register their carpool with the TDM Coordinator. Each member of the carpool must agree and sign the rules and regulations document set out by York Region. Registered carpools receive a hang-tag to be displayed on their rear view mirror. Only these vehicles can park in the designated premium carpool parking spaces. Carpool parking is continuously monitored by security, and if a carpool hang-tag is not displayed, the car will receive a notice by York Region.
Carpool spots can only be used if a vehicle is currently carpooling, which means that although an employee may have a hang-tag, they can only use the parking spot if they are carpooling that day. This provides parking space for current “smart” commuters, while still encouraging employees to carpool in order to park in the most convenient spaces.
What York Region provides for their Smart Commuting employees
York Region provides premium parking spots for registered carpools, which allows for carpooling employees to park in the main north lot, rather than in the overflow lot, located approximately half a kilometer behind the building.
Employees that do not carpool or use alternative means of transportation may have to use the overflow parking lot, as the main lot is usually fully occupied by 8:30 a.m. This encourages employees to carpool to work in order to have a close and convenient parking space.
York Region recognizes that employees are sometimes reluctant to try carpooling because of the fear of being stranded in case of an emergency or overtime. To assure carpoolers of a ride home, York Region offers an Emergency Ride Home Program that provides registered members with $50.00 for trips up to 50 kilometers, or $75.00 for trips over 50 kilometers if an emergency and/or unscheduled approved overtime occurs. This provides reassurance to carpoolers and shows York Region’s commitment to their employees.
Introducing York Region’s Largest Carpool!
Meet Mazy, Sarah, Daisy, Emily, and Amelia. They carpool together every day from Markham to Newmarket. With five members, not only are they Smart Commute – York Region’s largest carpool, but one of its longest-running. They started out as two-person group in 2006, but quickly expanded. Emily joined the group this year by finding their carpool on Smart Commute’s carpool matching website Carpool Zone.
Members of this carpool take turns driving once a week. They all point to the cost saving as the biggest reason they keep carpooling. Emily estimates she saves $8 to $10 on gas every day that she leaves her car at home, never mind the reduced wear and tear on her vehicle. When considering the many carpool advantages, the group cites premium parking spots as a close second to cost savings. As well, they value the friendships they have formed along the way and appreciate having the group’s extra eyes on the road when they are in the driver’s seat.