Employee Commute Information
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?
Pre-Tax Transit Fringe Benefit
Employers may give employees tax-free transportation benefits under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 132(f) or “Commuter Tax Benefits.”
The limit is $300 per month in 2023. Qualified transportation benefits, or "fringe benefits," include commuter parking, transit passes, and vanpool expenses. Employees cannot deduct general commuting expenses (gas used to drive to work).
Employees can buy transit passes and pay for vanpools through pre-tax payroll deduction. Those costs can be automatically deducted from their paycheck, so they save taxes on the cost of the pass.
The break-even point for deciding if it's worth it to buy a monthly MBTA pass is related to the cost of the pass and how many days a person is planning to use it.
Employers can provide a pre-tax program in two ways:
- Buy transit passes through the MBTA Perq program, and charge the employee through a pre-tax payroll deduction.
The MBTA Perq program is convenient because employees receive a pass at work and they don’t need to remember to buy them each month. The MBTA automatically updates bus/subway Link Passes on Charlie Cards each month.
- Buy vouchers through third party companies (such as Edenred or WageWorks). Employees can use the vouchers to buy passes, commuter rail tickets, or pay for vanpool fares. Employers can take a pre-tax deduction for the cost of the voucher.
Vouchers offer employees flexibility because they don’t have to buy a full month's pass. If people use transit even a few times a week, it can make a difference in reducing traffic and pollution.
Pre-Tax Bicycle Benefit
A subsidy of up to $20 per month is allowable for some expenses related to bicycle commuting. Third Party Companies can administer this program, or employers can offer a reimbursement. Commuters can choose either the transit/vanpool benefit or the bicycle benefit, but cannot use both . But they can use both the transit benefit and the parking benefit.
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.
Transportation Management Associations
A transportation management association (TMA) is a group of Cambridge businesses that work together to provide transportation services. Cambridge has two TMAs:
Massachusetts Ride Match
Massachusetts Ride Match is a site where you can search for public, private, and accessible transportation options in Massachusetts.
Bay State Commute
Bay State Commute is a ride-matching site that helps you find other people to form a carpool or vanpool with.
Bluebikes is our public, regional bike share system. We have stations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville. Bluebikes memberships are simple for businesses to offer employees:
- Employees manage their own accounts online.
- Bluebikes will help you promote the new benefit, and can visit your site to educate employees about bike sharing.
- Each month, Bluebikes will send you an invoice for employees who signed up during the previous 30 days. The monthly invoice contains a report on how employees are using their memberships.
Bike parking is great for business! To request a bicycle rack be placed on public property, please visit our request site.
The following non-profit organizations focus on sustainable transportation in and around Cambridge and can help you plan your commute programs.
For More Information
For more information, please contact Ryan McKinnon at 617/349-7240 or email@example.com.