Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MIT helping its community reduce dependence on driving

MIT is helping its students, staff and faculty reduce dependence on driving. I really like #2 (although #1 is the one that benefits me as a regular T rider). I was once heavily dependent on driving myself being from the suburbs. It was hard for me to imagine taking public transportation anywhere until my girlfriend got me to try it out. Now I'm convinced that the need for car ownership is an American myth, especially for a city dweller. You can get just about anywhere with a combination of walking, taxis, public transportation and ZipCars for teaching.

Here's the letter to the MIT community from the administration on the program. Hopefully other urban situated universities are implementing similar programs.

Dear Members of the MIT Community,

Many of us are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs, which is why
I am pleased to announce several new benefits for commuters.

1. 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 savings for nearly
600 members of the MIT community. We hope that this increase in
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 lets you park up to eight times per month on campus at
a cost of $4 per day.

2. 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
affect the status of your parking passes.

Also, if you find that transit passes work for you, it may be a
good option to consider combining this option with an occasional
parking pass at the frequency/rate stated above. 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 the free passes.

The new services build upon the wide range of flexible,
environmentally friendly and cost-effective options already available
to MIT commuters, the details of which are available at this newly
updated site: <http://web.mit.edu/facilities/transportation/>. We
encourage you to visit this site and learn more about options that you
may be unfamiliar with, such as our emergency ride home program for
transit and bike commuters; occasional parking permit for walkers,
transit and bike commuters; discounted parking fees and preferential
parking for vanpools and carpools; and much more.

We will be providing updates on additional services for commuters in
the weeks and months ahead. Ideas we're exploring include subsidies
for cyclists and expanded parking spaces at key commuter locations in
and around Cambridge. Most importantly, we will be setting up an
online form to solicit ideas and suggestions, and we welcome hearing
from you.

Sincerely,

Theresa M. Stone
Executive Vice President and Treasurer

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