Carpooling offers perks for staff, environment

Posted Feb. 23, 2007

The Rideshare Program helps to decrease emissions in the air by encouraging employees to find alternative ways to commute to work.

Tiffany Smith, Human Resources administrative assistant, took charge of the program in October 2006 and was certified on Feb. 14 of this year.

She is working on some new ideas for the program.

“This is my baby, so I’m really going to get it going,” Smith said.

The Rideshare Program, is a state requirement for any employer with more than 250 employees.

Its purpose is to lower the emissions produced by commuting to work.
Also known as Rule 2202, it is enforced by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Diamond Bar.

“I think it’s helping,” said Alfred Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs. “It’s still a minor thing ... because most people can’t carpool. But it’s a step in the right direction.”

Under Rule 2202, each company and agency must submit a plan and annual average vehicle ridership to the Air Quality Management District.

The Accelerated Vehicle Retirement, or AVR, is determined by dividing the number of employees by the number of vehicles driven to work between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., Monday through Friday.

The AVR goal for the University of La Verne is 1.50.

In 2006, ULV had an AVR of 1.18.

“I’m really excited. Whatever they said about us in the past is not going to be in the future,” Smith said.

Since last year’s goal was not met, a plan for improvement must be sent to the Air Quality Management District.

Although the plan has already been submitted, Smith is still working on new ideas to meet the goal.

Incentives will be offered to encourage more employees to participate in the program.

Those include Rideshare Scrips; full-time employees are given Rideshare Scrip every day they find greener commuting alternatives.

These Rideshare Scrips are redeemable at several restaurants including Warehouse Pizza and Coffeeberry.

Only full-time employees are allowed to receive incentives for being a part of the program.

Professor of Photography Gary Colby, Administrative Assistant Charlotte Neill and Clark are among those who do not drive to work.

Neill has been walking to work her for the past 20 years, while Colby and Clark ride their bikes in every day.

“It does make a difference if you’re not pouring more and more carbon from the car,” Colby said.

Each Rideshare Scrip has a dollar amount.

They receive $1 for carpooling with two people, children, non-ULV employees or motorcycling; $2 for carpooling with three or more people, walking, bicycling, using public transportation, or driving a hybrid; and $3 for carpooling in a hybrid.

They turn in their Rideshare Record on the 10th of every month and receive their Rideshare Scrips by the 15th.

“I don’t know what more they can do,” said Neill. “I think $2 a day for me is a fabulous incentive.”

In May there will be a “Ride Your Bike to Work Week.”

Clark participated last year, where he won a prize and was given a continental breakfast.

He rides his bike four miles every day from Claremont to work.

Smith is also going to add monthly and quarterly drawings.

When they turn their record in on time, their names will be entered into the drawing.

A prize will be given away every month, and a bigger prize will be given every quarter.

As long as the employer either meets the goal or submits a plan or improvement, then there are no consequences.

The Air Quality Management District will help the companies and agencies come up with the ideas to meet the AVR goal.

Tina Cherry, spokeswoman for the District, said that this district – which includes Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange counties – has the most rigorous air quality rules in the nation.

It is due to the fact that the South Coast has some of the nation’s worst air pollution problems.

“It’s still not wonderful up here ... but it’s better than it use to be in the ’50s and ’60s,” Neill said.

When pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and methane are released into the air, the air quality declines.

This can lead to problems with smog, climate change and global warming and these are issues that Californians can relate to.

Clark believes the local Air Quality Management District is the primary reason the air quality here has improved.

“One could argue that it makes no difference if one person doesn’t drive, but on the other hand, every vehicle pollutes,” Clark said.

Sher Porter can be reached at

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