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image of man in busWestchester County’s SMART Commute team will be celebrating Car Free Day in Mount Vernon’s Petrillo Plaza from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21. Stop by to learn how to travel sustainably by using the Bee-Line Bus System. Pick up a system map or bus schedule, enter to win a free Two-Trip MetroCard, and enjoy complimentary refreshments provided by local businesses. 

The MetroCard van will be making a special appearance from 3 to 5 p.m.  The van is a "one-stop shop" and is equipped to assist bus riders with all of their MetroCard business. Riders will be able to buy a regular MetroCard, apply for a Reduced-Fare MetroCard if they are 65 and older or have qualifying disabilities and refill their existing MetroCards. MetroCard is the automated regional fare collection system managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Car Free Day is a free international event celebrated every September in which people are encouraged to get around without driving alone in cars and instead ride a bus, train, subway, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, or walk. In 2017, more than 1,500 Hudson Valley Commuters went car free on Car Free Day. Help make Car Free Day 2018 a great success, take the pledge to go car free on Sept. 21.

 

 

 

 

Calculating your commuting costs

 

How much does it cost to drive?


The IRS calculates the cost of operating a car in 2001 at 34.5 cents per mile.
According to AAA, the national average
per mile in 2000 was 49.1 cents
(based on driving 15,000 miles per year).

To figure out how much it costs you to drive to work, follow the simple formula below:

__________ x 34.5 per mile = ________
(round trip miles)

x 21(workingdays/month) = ___________
                                         (total monthly cost)

Scenario 1: 55 miles round trip
Driving Alone vs.
Carpooling and Vanpooling*

 

Scenario 2: 80 miles round trip


Driving vs. Riding the Train*


MTA Metro-North

 

New Haven Line:


New Haven to Stamford


Harlem Line:


Brewster to White Plains

 

Daily Fee

 

Daily Fee

 

Monthly Fee

 

Drive Alone
Carpool (2 people)
Vanpooling*

 

18.98
9.49
5.25

 

Drive Alone
Train  (New Haven Line)
(Harlem Line)

 

27.60
18.00

13.00

 

579.60
170.60

117.25

 

* Figures from Easy Street van services
   in 2000

 

 

The Commute-n-Save Program is a great cost-effective, value-added benefit.  Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code allow your company greater flexibility in offering this benefit that works for you and your company. It works for business. It works for the economy. It works for the environment. Let it work for you.

Westchester’s Federal Commuter Choice Program Option
Tax-free commuter benefits, also known as qualified transportation fringes, are employer provided voluntary benefit programs that allow employees to reduce their monthly commuting expenses for transit, vanpooling, bicycling and work-related parking costs.

As of January 1, 2019, if your company offers this fringe benefit, you are eligible to use up to $265 a month of your pre-tax income for transportation costs. Your company can offer commuter benefits in the form of tax-free employer-paid subsidies, pre-tax employee-paid payroll deductions, or a combination of both.

Save Money with Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits
The employee’s taxable income is lowered, since commuting costs are deducted from their income using pre-tax paycheck dollars. The company’s payroll taxes are also lowered by the total amount that all employees contribute pre-tax, because that amount is no longer categorized as taxable payroll dollars (wages or salary) for your business.

What Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits Can Be Used for                                                                                  

Commuter, transit or transportation benefits are a way for employers to let employees use pre-tax dollars for their work-related transportation expenses, such as:

  • Transit passes: bus, train, subway, ferry
  • Parking fees
  • Vanpooling

Ease and Flexibility in Offering the Benefit
Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code for the qualified transportation fringe benefit make it easier for companies to offer public transportation benefits to their employees. This Federal transportation fringe benefit is exempt from the complex use restrictions common to flexible spending accounts (FSA). It is excluded from the cafeteria plans under section 132(f) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your company will not have to write a plan document or obtain IRS approval.

So there is less paperwork. There are no irrevocable elections or forms. This pre-tax fringe benefit can be started at any time of the year. The Smart Commute team will guide you through the process and offers free educational tabling events to explain pre-tax commuter benefits to your employees.

Call (914) 995-4444 for details or contact us at .

 

According to AAA, the national average per mile in 2016 was 0.571 dollars (57.1 cents) based on driving 15,000 miles per year. To figure out how much it costs you to drive to work, follow the simple formulas below:

______ (round trip miles) x 0.571 dollars per mile = _______ (round trip cost)

______ (round trip cost) x 21 (working days/month) = _______ (total monthly cost) 

Scenario 1: Driving Alone vs. Carpooling
and Vanpooling-- 55 miles round trip

 

Daily
Cost

 

Monthly
Cost

 

·         Driving alone

 

$31.40

 

$659.50

 

·         Carpool (2 people)

 

$15.70

 

$329.70

           
           
           

Scenario 2: Driving vs. Riding the Train
-- 80 miles round trip

 

Daily
Cost

 

Monthly
Cost

 

·         Driving alone

 

$45.68

 

$959.28

 

·         MTA Metro-North New Haven Line: 
New Haven to Stamford*

 

$16.50

 

$165.50

 

·         MTA Metro-North Harlem Line:  Brewster to White
Plains*

 

$15.00

 

$159.75

 

*Monthly train tickets are cheaper than 42 one-way
tickets (21 days x 2 one-way trips per day). Train fares are subject to change.

       

Figures above are based on an average of 21 working days per month.

Cost per mile estimate based on AAA's "Your Driving Costs 2016" brochure. Please note, .571 is a default composite average cost per mile for small, medium and large sedans that average 15,000 miles per year. To calculate your exact cost per mile, see the brochure.

 

As part of Westchester’s SMART COMMUTE Program, we will provide a Transportation Fair at your work site. Your fair will be tailored to your location and may be as big or as small as you would like.

An information table, for example, can be set up in a common area of your worksite during lunch hour where employees can learn about their commute options in a casual atmosphere.

The Commute Alternatives Division of the Department of Public Works and Transportation will provide flyers and/or e-blasts to promote the fair prior to the selected date.  Employers are expected to inspire their employees to use alternative modes of transportation and encourage participation at these events.

At Transportation Fairs, employees have the opportunity to:

  • Talk to mass transit representatives to learn about commute options and find a route tailored to their individual needs
  • Find a carpool or vanpool partner with 511NY Rideshare's  system  
  • Pick up current schedules for buses and trains, along with the Bee-Line System Map in English or Spanish
  • Find out about the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit
  • Learn how alternative modes of transportation can help save time and money, reduce stress, reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a better quality of life

It’s that simple.  It’s a valuable benefit and it's free.

Call (914) 813-7824 for further information or email us at .