For Immediate Release
Sonoma County expands employee ‘Clean Commute’ program to reduce drive-alone rate, CO2 emission
SANTA ROSA, CA | October 17, 2023
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to upgrade the county’s Clean Commute Employee Benefit Program. The upgrade includes a proposed new reciprocal pilot program between Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa CityBus that allows employees to ride the bus for free, pending approval by the Santa Rosa City Council at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting. If approved, county employees can ride on the Santa Rosa CityBus system, and city employees will be able to ride on Sonoma County Transit for free by simply showing their employee ID badges starting in January.
Under the expanded Clean Commute program, county employees also will be provided free electric vehicle charging for up to three hours at 46 different county-operated charging station ports and free bike parking at 28 bike storage lockers located on the county campus. County employees also will receive an increase in the monthly incentive for Clean Commute Program participants from $40 to $100.
The series of program improvements are designed to streamline staff workflow, simplify the process to participate for employees, and upgrade the incentives to promote the use of alternative forms of transportation to reduce the County’s overall carbon emissions.
“As one of the region’s largest employers, we have an obligation to encourage and provide solutions for our employees in this collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “This innovative program not only helps take metric tons of CO2 out of the air, but it also provides incentive for employees to get and stay active for long-term health and well-being.”
Sonoma County launched an updated Clean Commute Program in 2019 to provide pre-tax commuter benefits and discounted Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit passes, in addition to other benefits. During Fiscal Year 2022-23, the Board of Supervisors allocated $150,000 to create an incentive program including a $40 subsidy to permanent employees who ride the train, bus, carpool, bike or walk to work at least 48 days in a six-month period.
Employee participation in the Clean Commute Program is monitored using an online trip tracker that allows employees to log their telework and alternate commute days, sign up for pre-tax commuter benefits, and find a carpool. For every telework day or alternate commute trip logged, the system automatically calculates the amount of money saved, calories burned, and CO2 emissions reduced. Since its inception in 2022, 1,652 county employees have logged 163,426 trips, saving 833 metric tons of CO2.
For more information about Sonoma County’s Clean Commute Program for employees, please contact the Climate Action and Resiliency Division at (707) 565-6470 or email Climate@sonoma-county.org.