By Grady Gaynor
Commuter Connect, an extension of CIRTA (Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority), is a program to help individuals get to work for whatever reason! Whether it is disability, financial, pursuit of a cleaner environment, or not having a license, this is a program that can be utilized by anyone living in Marion or its surrounding counties.
Commuter Connect allows an individual to search a database to find other commuters in their area to “match” with and carpool to work together. CIRTA is partnered with Commuter Connect and provides a $50 subsidy per individual to use a vanpool as well. CIRTA has partnered with employers who oftentimes pay the balance after the $50 subsidy is used up for employees dedicated to their job. Employers can partner with CIRTA to give commuter benefits such as an emergency ride home.
Director of Commuter Connect and CIRTA Jennifer Gebhard explained, “Say you and I drive into work together tomorrow and I get that dreadful call that my child is sick or having some sort of an emergency. Well then, I can use one of my five vouchers to call an emergency taxi through our partner z-trip.”
With congested roads, high gas prices and dozens of other factors that could be holding someone back from driving to and from work, Commuter Connect is a great alternative option. CIRTA is the only vanpool in the state with 30 vehicles actively running.
“We are trying to find unique solutions to try to help people to find transportation reliability. I have personally known people walking two-and-a-half hours just to get to work for minimum wage. I know of people living in their vehicles to keep a job! I am passionate about what we do, and I’m glad we have these solutions to offer.”