Why Smart Commute?
We all want an easier commute to work and home with less stress and traffic congestion. We also want a better environment with less traffic noise and cleaner air to breathe. And we can have this if we commute the smart way.
Smart Commute 404-7 is a transportation management association (TMA) between the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Markham Board of Trade, supported by the Regional Municipality of York, the Towns of Markham and Richmond Hill, the provincial and federal governments and the businesses of the two communities. The association promotes and facilitates “smart” commuting methods.
What We Mean by “Smart Commute”
There are lots of choices so try a few and see which one suits you best.
Smart commuting can include walking to and from work … with your doctor’s ok, of course … running, rollerblading and biking. Less strenuous examples include taking public transit, carpooling, working flexible hours or compressed work weeks, teleworking, or working from home … even electric bicycling is now permitted on roads, etc. where traditional bicycles are already authorized … if helmets are worn (fines for not wearing a helmet are substantial for electric bike riders).
You may even want to combine a few commute options such as cycling to work in the summer and taking public transit in the winter or carpooling to work and then using public transit for the commute home. However you decide to smart commute we’re certain you’ll like it better than fighting traffic twice a day!
Smart Commute – the “Way of the Future”
Being a smart commuter can give you a better work-life balance plus leave a little more of your pay cheque in your pocket …
Quite simply, it’s what people like you are doing to combat the stress, fatigue, cost and hassle of driving to work every day. When you smart commute you think about what is best for you – and for the environment. Then, you make a change. Traffic congestion is reduced and everyone benefits … including our future commuters. It’s up to you to make it happen!
Why You Should Smart Commute
1. Lower Your Stress
Being stuck in traffic and being late for work can stress you out before you even start your work day! It’s not easy to stay calm when you can’t control the weather or road conditions. Instead of feeling stuck behind the wheel you can Smart Commute and improve your health.
2. Save Your Money
According to the Canadian Automobile Association, a commuter who drives a late-model car and travels 25 km to work will spend about $8,150 a year in ownership and operating costs. Smart Commute options could save you a chunk of this money. Imagine what some extra cash could mean to you and your family!
3. Find More Time
When you drive to and from work you’re losing time. Even driving 30 minutes each way adds up to 6 work weeks a year! Think of what people relaxing on a public transit bus and train are doing while you drive … making out a grocery list, reading a newspaper, having a power nap or simply getting home sooner!
4. Breathe Easier
Fewer vehicles on the road means less air pollution. Bad air quality, especially in the hot summer months, is dangerous for children, the elderly and asthmatics. Consider how much easier you’ll breathe when you exercise your lungs walking or biking to work.
Take the Commuter Quiz!
Are you ready to Smart Commute? Answer “yes” or “no” to these questions:
1. Is driving to work costing you more each year?
2. Do you find the drive to work is getting more stressful?
3. Are you sometimes late for work because of traffic delays?
4. Does it take you longer to get to work now than it did a few years ago?
5. Are you spending more time in your car than with your family and friends?
6. Would you like a less expensive and less stressful way to get to work?
Scoring: For each “yes” answer, score 5 points.
20 – 30 You are definitely ready to leave your car at home and enjoy a Smart Commute.
15 – 20 You are almost ready to consider Smart Commute options; we’ll give you a few more years of battling traffic to convince you there are better ways to go.
< 15 (less than 15) …
You are a die-hard SOVD – single occupant vehicle driver – with lots of time and money to spend on the daily commute.
Walking, Running, Rollerblading
Did you knowCommuting by walking that most people can easily walk ¼ mile in 5 minutes? It may not take as long as you think to walk to and from work. And, walking is recommended the most as a safe exercise for all types of people. Speed it up if that’s your style – with running or rollerblading. Whichever way you move your feet, you will be healthier. You might also be pleasantly surprised at the fun and interesting view of the city from the ground!
Riding a bike to work is another fun way to get exercise and see the city in a new way. There are many bike trails throughout York Region so you can avoid some of our busiest streets. The Region has a pedestrian and cycling master plan for fitness and fun commuting. Many companies provide bike racks. Cycling is great for trips up to 10 km each way. It’s often faster to bike than to drive if you’re only going 5 km.
YRT & VIVA Bus, GO Train
York Region’s public transit system can connect you to wherever you want to go! It’s a smart alternative to driving as it lets you read, relax, and let’s someone else do the driving. Discounted monthly passes and tickets make public transit a practical financial choice. York Region Transit (YRT)/Viva and GO Transit are the two services available. YRT/Viva operates over 80 bus routes across the nine municipalities in York Region. By paying a single fare, you can hop on and off YRT/Viva for up to two hours in any direction. And for just 50 cents, you can take YRT/Viva services to GO Train stations. Viva is York Region’s rapid transit system and since its launch in September 2005, Phase 1 of this project has been a success. Viva Phase 2 will truly put the “rapid” into rapid transit with brand new centre-of-the-road lanes dedicated to public transit being built on Yonge Street and Highway 7. This will allow Viva vehicles to cut through busy, congested traffic in their own “rapidways”, getting riders to their destinations significantly faster. Construction in select locations is scheduled to begin in June 2007. For more information, contact YRT/Viva (www.yrt.ca or 1-866-668-3978) or GO Transit (www.gotransit.com or 1-888-438-6646).
Share a Ride
Commuting in a car or van with several others can be a convenient and enjoyable way to travel. Sometimes you can find a neighbour that works in the same place as you – or near enough to make a drop-off on the way by! We can even match you up with a group that is sharing rides in your neighbourhood.
Find a carpool
You can access our ride matching site by clicking on our Carpool Zone logo.
Work Flexible Hours
A good way to avoid the morning and afternoon traffic rush hour is to start or finish your job at a different time than everyone else. You may be able to arrange with your employer for an early or late start. If your job is flexible, consider traveling to work at non-peak times.
Work A Compressed Week
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a long weekend every week! Some employers offer you the choice of working longer shifts, and less days overall. This compresses your normal workweek into fewer days – and means you’ll be traveling to and from work less often.
Work from Home
Computer technology means you can “virtually” work from anywhere sat at your desk pouring maple sugar in your coffee! If you spend just one or two days a week working from home, you won’t have to commute as often. Your employer may be happy to free up office and parking space as well. Both of you may find this an attractive option.
Take the Next Step…
Ask your employer if they will sponsor a Smart Commute program – it’s free and it’s easy. All they have to do is call and tell us they’re interested
If your employer already has a Smart Commute program, sign up for a Smart Commute option
Or, join a car pool by using our handy online web-based ride share locator (click here)
Contact the Smart Commute 404-7 managers for your community. They can help you to …
make it happen!