Did you know that spending an extra 10 minutes sitting in traffic during your commute can quickly adds up to 84 hours in the car per year! Traffic is wearisome, not only for you but for your health. Fumes from car exhaust, which mixes with heat and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, makes it difficult for us all to breathe. However, you can help clear the air in our region this summer by not driving in your car alone during rush hour traffic. Impossible, you think? Here are some commute ideas for you to consider.
The first option is to consider an alternate mode of transportation to work. The MetroBus and MetroLink have routes that cover St. Louis on both sides of the river, and you can log onto www.metrostlouis.org to find a schedule and route near you. Services are available for Madison County, Ill. residents from Madison County Transit at www.mct.org. In addition, Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) offers opportunities to register your home and work addresses online via its website at www.cmt-stl.org and receive a personalized transit route from home to work, the schedules and service times for your commute.
If transit isn’t an option,try carpooling to work—it’s as easy as calling Ridefinders at 1-800-VIP-RIDE or visiting www.ridefinders.org. Carpooling saves miles and wear on your car, and gives you someone to talk to during those long daily commutes. RideFinders can match you up with a list of potential carpoolers that both live and work near you.
An added benefit of transit and carpooling is the Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH), an incentive that provides a limited number of subsidized cab rides in case of an unexpected emergency. Both CMT and Ridefinders offer the GRH for those who use transit and carpool and vanpool.
Other programs, such as flextime and a compressed work week, may also be available through some employers. Flextime changes the hours of an employee’s workday. For example, instead of working the typical 8 am to 5 pm shift, employees flex their schedule to work 6 am to 3 pm, 10 am to 7 pm, or any other combination the employer agrees upon. A compressed work week changes the hours of your day into longer shifts, working 10 hours a day four days a week, allowing you to avoid rush hour traffic and giving you one extra day off every week!
Choosing any of these options makes sense in many ways— it saves you time and money, and, since your car is idling less in traffic, it is polluting less and helping to reduce the thousands of pounds of pollution our cars create EVERY DAY. Clean air is everyone’s responsibility; so set a good example for others by taking action and try a more environmentally friendly commute.