Employee Commute Information

Carpool parking

Are you a Cambridge business owner who has limited parking? Do you want to make it easy for employees and patrons to leave their cars at home?

The City of Cambridge is pleased to offer you FREE information for your employees’ commute or your patrons’ travel options. You can post these materials in common areas or distribute to new hires.

Order your free materials now!

Pre-Tax Transit Fringe Benefit

Employers in the United States may provide their employees with tax-free transportation benefits (up to $265 per month in 2019) under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 132(f) or “Commuter Tax Benefits.” Qualified transportation benefits (also known as fringe benefits) include commuter parking, transit passes, and vanpool expenses. General commuting expenses, such as the cost of fuel to drive to the regular workplace, cannot be deducted.

Operationally, employees can purchase transit passes and pay for vanpool costs through pre-tax payroll deduction. Employees have the cost of a transit pass automatically deducted from their paycheck pre-tax, so they save taxes on the cost of the pass.

The break-even point for deciding whether to purchase a monthly MBTA pass is if an employee commutes to work roughly 4 days per week. If they are able to purchase the pass pre-tax, that break-even point comes down to roughly 3 commuting days per week.

Two ways to implement the pre-tax program:

  • Employers can purchase transit passes through the MBTA Perq program, and charge the employee share through a pre-tax payroll deduction. Click here for details.
  • Employers can purchase vouchers through third party administrators (such as Edenred or WageWorks). Employees can use the vouchers to buy passes, tokens, commuter rail tickets, or pay for vanpool fares. The cost of the voucher can be taken as a pre-tax deduction. If you already have a third party administrator for your employee benefits, they might have a similar voucher program.

Vouchers offer employees flexibility because they don’t have to purchase a full monthly pass. Encouraging people to use transit just a few times per week can make a difference in reducing congestion and pollution. Some pre-tax voucher programs also apply to vanpools.

The MBTA’s Perq program offers convenience, because employees receive their passes at work and they don’t need to remember to buy them each month. For employees who use a bus/subway Link Pass, Charlie Cards are automatically updated each month. An added advantage of Perq is that they estimate how many greenhouse gas emissions are being saved (or generated) through a company’s transit pass program.

Pre-Tax Bicycle Fringe Benefit

A subsidy of up to $20 per month is allowable for some expenses related to bicycle commuting. Commuter Check offers a voucher program to streamline the administration of this program, or employers can administer the benefit internally through receipts reimbursement. Commuters are not allowed to take advantage of both the transit/vanpool and the bicycle provisions of the tax code. However, the transit benefit and the parking benefit can be combined.

Click here for a publication on the federal tax law.

A simplified chart can be found here.

Charles River Transportation Management Association

The CRTMA is an association of Cambridge businesses that combines resources to provide transportation services.

  • Emergency Ride Home is a program that gives a ride to commuters who choose not to drive alone to work/school in case of an emergency or unscheduled mandatory overtime. An ERH cab voucher can be used to travel in an emergency to a home, a hospital, a child’s school or daycare, or other site.
  • The EZRide Shuttle connects Cambridgeport, MIT Northwest Campus, Kendall Square, Lechmere Station, and North Station in Boston

There are annual membership dues for the CRTMA and optional dues for the EZRide Shuttle membership (which allows members’ employees to ride free).

Click here for more information on the CRTMA.

MBTA

The MBTA’s trip planner allows you to enter an origin and destination, and time of travel, then provides route options for making that trip. Alternatively all MBTA data is integrated into Google Maps and can be accessed via the “Get directions to” option.

Find out when then next bus is coming!

Click here for more information about the MBTA.

MassRIDES

MassRIDES can help commuters form a carpool or vanpool, and can assist larger groups in organizing a commuter information fair.

Bluebikes

Bluebikes, the public regional bike share system, has stations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville. Bluebikes' Corporate Accounts options help to solve your company's transit concerns - proving you with the ability to encourage active transportation - while strengthening your commitment to green initiatives.

  • Implementation - Bluebikes memberships are simple for businesses to implement. Each employee manages their own account, with monthly reports sent to the account administrator.
  • Promotion and Education - Bluebikes will also help you promote the new benefit internally, and can make visits to your site to educate employees about bike sharing.
  • Invoicing and Reporting - Each month, Bluebikes will send you an invoice for those employees that signed up during the previous 30 days. The monthly invoice also contains statistics on how your employees are utilizing their memberships.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Corporate Member.

Bike Parking is Great for Business

To request that a bicycle rack be placed on public property, please email bikerack@cambridgema.gov.

Get Involved

The following non-profit organizations focus on sustainable transportation in and around Cambridge and can provide a wealth of information as you plan your Transportation Demand Management program. They host a series of regular outreach events, programming, and speaker series that will enable you to offer even more options to your employees.

Free Downloads

For More Information

For more information, please contact Stephanie Groll at 617/349-4673 or sgroll@cambridgema.gov.