Bike to Work Day 2016

Inspiring first-time riders to spin their wheels and supporting everyday cyclists, the annual Bike to Work Day (BTWD) celebration, held Friday, May 20, encouraged more than 17,000 commuters in the DC Metro area to trade in their four wheels for a bike ride in the sun.

Commuter Connections, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and local organizations hosted 83 pit stops throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia with free giveaways, T-shirts and refreshments, plus the chance to win great prizes. goDCgo, a proud sponsor of BTWD, staffed four pit stops, Anacostia-National Park Service, Freedom Plaza, Farragut Square and National Geographic. NEW DC bicycle maps were distributed, bike confessions captured and cyclists mastered placing their bike on the DC Circulator. View our storyboard!

Don’t see your snapshot? If you would like to be featured on our official BTWD 2016 recap, email us your photo and pit stop location!

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Michala –

 “I just purchased my first bike on Craigslist. It came without a kickstand but that didn’t stop me! It’s great exercise and it saves so much time – a great alternative to Metro!”

 

 

 

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Jamie –

“I left my car behind and signed up for Capital Bikeshare. I really enjoy the freedom of having a bike at my fingertips whenever I need it.”

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Filed under Biking, Capital Bikeshare

7 Ways to Make Your Business Bike Friendly All Year Long

Although Bike to Work Day has passed, this season offers commuters an ideal opportunity to try biking. Here are seven simple ways to create a bike-friendly workplace and culture while keeping your employees healthy and engaged throughout the year:

1. Capital Bikeshare Corporate Membership
• When you offer Capital Bikeshare memberships to your employees, the annual fee is discounted to $50 (regularly $85), when your organization contributes to part or all of the fee. Capital Bikeshare is often found as a perfect option for the first or last mile of many commutes and convenient for workday travel and leisurely weekend rides.

2. The Bicycle Commuter Benefit
• As an employer, you can provide a direct Bicycle Commuter Benefit of up to $20 per month, tax-free, to offset the cost of maintenance and further support employees who regularly commute by bike.

3. Reward Bicycle Commuters
• Innovative incentives encourage employees to bike to work. Reward employees who bike to work with a pizza party, monthly breakfast, gift cards or product giveaways to keep employees excited about biking.

4. Provide Bicycle Parking
• Give bike commuters peace of mind by working with your building to install secure, convenient bicycle parking in your garage or office.

5. Showers/Changing Facilities
• Offer bicycle commuters a place where they can shower or change clothes, or partner with a local gym to offer employees a discounted rate to use their shower facilities.

6. Offer Bike Classes
• Bring in the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for an Every Biking Seminar (free for Capital Bikeshare corporate partners).

7. Participate in Local or National Events and Challenges
• Healthy competition is always a great way to get employees exciting about biking. Sign up for the National Bike Challenge as a company, or organize a group bicycle ride during lunch or as a regular Health & Wellness activity.

Is your office bike-friendly? Share ways your company is bicycle friendly with us at info@goDCgo.com or request a one-on-one consultation today.

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Filed under Biking, Capital Bikeshare, Commuting, Employer News

Using Transit Benefits for MARC and VRE Fares

Do you have employees enrolled in the SmartBenefits® program who would like to use their commuter benefits for VRE or MARC commuter rail tickets? MARC and VRE do not accept SmarTrip® for fares but commuters can use SmartBenefits® (via MARC_VREa registered SmarTrip® card) to purchase MARC and VRE tickets via Commuter Direct.

Do you have employees enrolled in the SmartBenefits® program who would like to use their commuter benefits for VRE or MARC commuter rail tickets? MARC and VRE do not accept SmarTrip® for fares but commuters can use SmartBenefits® (via a registered SmarTrip® card) to purchase MARC and VRE tickets via Commuter Direct.

5 Easy Steps to convert SmartBenefits funds to VRE or MARC tickets

  1. Employer collects employees’ registered SmartTrip® cards to register in the company’s SmartBenefits® program
  2. Employer enrolls employees’ registered SmartTrip® cards in the company’s SmartTrip® benefits program by the 15th of the month
  3. Employer notifies employees to contact Commuter Direct by the 21st of the month to choose a pass they would like to receive for VRE or MARC transportation
  4. Commuter Direct will mail VRE or MARC tickets to employee’s home address or instruct employee on the closest station to pick up the tickets
  5. For more information, contact Commuter Direct at (703) 228-RIDE or questions@commuterdirect.com.
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Filed under Commuting, Employer News, Marc, Transportation and Money, VRE

Transit Benefits for Restaurants: 6 Tips for Enrolling Tipped Employees

Offering pre-tax transit benefits is a great way to help your employees save, but some aspects of the restaurant industry present special challenges for owners and managers.

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Christian Guidi of Clyde’s Restaurant Group explains how changing the payroll stacking order made pre-tax benefits easy at Clyde’s.

A recent session with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington provided some great insight into ensuring a smooth rollout for restaurants complying with the DC Commuter Benefits Law.

Commuter benefits area great way to help your employees save, but some aspects of the restaurant industry present special challenges for owners and managers. A recent session with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington provided some great insights into pre-tax withholding from tipped employees, communicating with staff, and ensuring a smooth benefit rollout.

Here are 6 tips for providing transit benefits to your restaurant’s employees:

  1. Change the payroll stacking order: A little-known option allows employers to set up transit benefits and other pre-tax benefits to pull from employees’ paychecks first – even before taxes. The biggest challenge with transit benefits in the restaurant industry is making pre-tax deductions work with tipped employees, whose formal paycheck may be insufficient to cover transit benefits as the bulk of it goes entirely toward taxes. By changing the payroll stacking order, pre-tax deductions can be made first. A word of caution: employees may owe a greater percentage of their tax bill out-of-pocket at the end of the year, but for $1,000 in pre-tax savings on their everyday transit fares, it’s worth it! Ask your payroll administrator about this option.
  2. Set your deadlines internally: Inform employees that they should sign up or make changes by a certain day each month in order for payroll deductions to be made and benefits to become available promptly. With Metro’s free SmartBenefits® program, all additions and changes must be finalized on the 15th of the month for benefits to be auto-loaded onto employee SmarTrip® cards the 1st of the following month. Take a look at your payroll schedule and adapt your internal policies accordingly.
  3. Use sample forms and notices: Use sample notices from goDCgo to lighten your roll-out workload. Notices are available in English and Spanish and goDCgo can help you create  customized materials or present to your employees at a staff meeting.
  4. Mirror everything: When an employee requests a change or leaves the company, make sure the changes are reflected 1) in your payroll and 2) in SmartBenefits® or with your benefits provider.
  5. One card does it all: Employees can use an existing SmarTrip® card. All funds that go into the SmartBenefits® program are IRS-compliant, so you do not need to collect receipts or documentation of your employees’ transit expenses.
  6. Save on payroll taxes: For each pre-tax dollar contributed by your employees, your company will save on payroll taxes. Those savings usually cover the cost of hiring a benefits vendor instead of administering SmartBenefits® in-house, although it still requires some coordination from you as the on-site contact.

goDCgo’s award-winning Employer Services program is here to support your restaurant in setting up commuter benefits every step of the way.

Want goDCgo to create industry-specific resources for your association or professional group? Let us know: info@godcgo.com.

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Filed under Commuting, Employer News, Transportation and Money

Metro’s New Flexible passes – SmartBenefits®

There’s a new way for commuters to save on Metrorail and Metrobus fares. Riders can now enroll in the new SelectPass pilot program to receive unlimited rides if their Metro fares typically cost between $2.25 and $3.75 one-way. These commuters may save up to 20% while gaining unlimited access to the Metrorail system for workday travel and personal use. A discounted Metrobus add-on is also available.

iStock_000000150115MediumWhat does this mean for commuters and employers enrolled in Metro’s SmartBenefits program?

It takes just a few steps for commuters to use their benefits for a SelectPass. Traditionally, employers allocate most SmartBenefits funds to the “Transit” benefit category, which covers all regular Metro and bus fares. If an employee wishes to join the SelectPass program, the company’s account administrator will change the employee’s benefit type from “Transit” to “Transit Pass” by the 15th of the month. On the 1st of the following month – when the benefit funds kick in – the employee may log into their personal SmarTrip account to “purchase” the pass using their pre-tax or subsidized SmartBenefits funds. The pass will be effective shortly thereafter.

Any additional funds needed for standard Metro or Metrobus fares should remain in the “Transit” benefit category.

For example, if you currently take Metrorail every day for short trips that cost $2.25 each way, you can purchase an unlimited Metrorail SelectPass for $81/month. Simply let your employer know a few weeks ahead of time that you would like $81/month to be assigned to “Transit Pass” funds. If you still need a little additional bus fare, or if you occasionally take longer Metrorail trips, ask your employer to put additional funds in the “Transit” category to cover any transit fares not included in your pass.

Commuters may visit this website to see if SelectPass is right for them.

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Filed under Commuting, Employer News, Metro, Technology, Transportation and Money