Did Non-Governmental Commuters Get a Break During Recent Shutdown?

by Frederick TransIT Community Relations Manager. 0 Comments

It’s true that the recent Federal Government shutdown was really tough on most people in our area, as many work for, or have a significant other who works for, the Federal Government.  However, there is one group for whom the shutdown was a limited-time blessing of sorts, and that is those who commute down I-270 and its sister roadways and are not government workers or contractors!

This statement is made tongue in cheek, to a point. I’ve heard many commuters saying that it was “nice while it lasted,” the ability to get from Frederick down into Gaithersburg, Rockville, Bethesda, and other points south in an amount of time more appropriate for the distance travelled. No bumper-to-bumper traffic from six until nine a.m., fewer vehicles zipping in and out of lanes, an HOV lane that actually moved at a decent rate of speed, etc..

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way, other than near economic Armageddon, to take the rush out of Rush Hour?  What if I told you that there IS a way – in fact, there are several ways!

It is quite likely that you, reading this post right now, drove to work today in your own personal vehicle, all alone. Your car or truck most likely has passenger seats for at least one or two more people, if not four to six more, but there you were(as are most of us), motoring down the crowded roadways in that vehicle, solo.

What if you found a colleague at work that lives within a mile or two of you and works the same shift? Hey, you could share a ride at least some of the time!  What if your neighbor works within a mile or two of your workplace, and works more or less the same schedule?  There’s another ridesharing possibility! Don’t know any of your colleagues or neighbors?  Visit www.commuterconnections.org and click on “Commuters,” then “Ridesharing.”  You’ll see a “register now” button which will allow you to put in your commuting preferences and hit a “magic button” which will find other people near your home or office with whom you just may be able to share a ride. Even if you only do this one or two days a week, think of the amount of traffic that could be reduced.

There are also financial incentives to entice you to share a ride.  Start a new car pool and rideshare at least two days a week and PoolRewards will reimburse you $2 a day (up to $130 per person). That’s cash money, in your pocket!  You can also sign up for NuRide at www.nuride.com, use a trip-reducing way of working (carpool, bike, walk, bus, or even telework), record your trips on the NuRide website, and earn points that can be redeemed for restaurant coupons, retailer discounts, and tickets to shows & attractions.  Nice, huh?

I270 traffic

Traffic on I270 on a typical workday post-shutdown

There are ways that you can contribute to your bottom line and to a less congested road system and cleaner air. In addition to ridesharing, biking, taking the bus, or walking to work, you can also talk to your employer about compressed work weeks, flexible work hours that keep you off the roads at the busiest times, or telework.  Stay tuned to The Confident Commuter blog for more information on these options in the coming weeks!

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