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MIT will significantly boost its commuter rail subsidies and offer free, one-month trial transit passes and other green incentives as part of a package of new commuting options for the 2008-2009 academic year.
"The MIT community is passionate about energy savings, and many of us are feeling the pinch of higher energy prices," said Theresa M. Stone, executive vice president and treasurer. "Combined with MIT's existing commuter benefits, the expanded services we are rolling out will offset high fuel costs and enable MIT community members to reduce their carbon footprints."
Highlights of the new options are as follows:
- MIT will increase its subsidy of MBTA commuter rail passes up to 50% for all zones. The increase, which will cover passes issued for the month of October onward, will result in immediate savings for nearly 600 members of the MIT community. The subsidy will also help many who are not currently using the commuter rail to discover that it can be an attractive alternative to driving, especially when combined with an occasional parking pass, which allows parking up to eight times per month on campus at a cost of $4 per day.
- To encourage drivers to try public transportation, MIT will offer free transit passes for the month of September to employees who currently park at MIT five days a week. The offer will give community members a chance to test whether public transportation works for them. Importantly, signing up for the offer will not result in forfeiture of parking passes for the rest of the year.
- Using transit passes in combination with occasional parking at the frequency/rate stated above may also present a good option. If you currently drive to work and park full-time, you will soon receive an email from the Office of Parking and Transportation with details on how to take advantage of this offer.
MIT will expand options for parking at off-site locations and make available other environmentally friendly commuting incentives in the coming months.
In addition to the new commuting options, MIT is hiring a commuting coordinator who will develop, implement and maintain a top-tier commuter services program in keeping with the Institute's stated goal of "walking the talk" on energy and the environment. Working closely with community members, the coordinator will set up a feedback channel for new ideas and suggestions.
The new services build upon the wide range of flexible, environmentally friendly and cost-effective options already available to MIT commuters, details of which are available at http://web.mit.edu/facilities/transportation/
New features at the site include links to a carpool matching site, park and ride locations and the MBTA commuter calculator, but the site also offers information on commuting features that members of the community may not know about, including:
- An Emergency Ride Home Program for transit and bike commuters.
- An Occasional Parking Permit Program for walkers, transit and bike commuters.
- Discounted parking fees and preferential parking for vanpools and carpools.
MIT will announce further details about additional commuter services in the weeks and months ahead.