Raytheon Company location in Dallas, Plano, and McKinney, Texas have been actively participating in commuting alternatives for many years. Currently over 325 employees participate in some type of ridesharing. The plant locations in Dallas and Plano have access to light rail and bus service operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The McKinney site is located outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and does not have DART service. The site draws employees from a six county area, including the Dallas urban area as well as many surrounding suburban and rural locations. Vanpools have become very popular with McKinney employees and 21 vanpools are currently in use. Texoma Area ParaTransit System (TAPS) Public Transit also provides some service for McKinney employees from the counties to the north.
Raytheon provides a subsidy to employees who ride public transit or vanpools. To make it even more convenient, the employee’s portion is automatically deducted pretax each month from the paycheck once signed up. All this is handled online by the third party benefits manager, WageWorks. The high cost for commuting in private vehicles the past few years has made these programs even more popular with employees.
I am a Senior Environmental, Health and Safety Engineer at Raytheon and have been promoting and supporting ridesharing programs for the last 17 years. I think over this time, Raytheon has been able to make a significant reduction in air pollution and highway congestion in the North Texas region. I’ve found that folks in Texas are very reluctant to give up the flexibility of driving their own vehicle to work. In my experience, the three keys for a successful program are:
Ridesharing must be convenient (minimal waiting at pickup point, available close in parking at work, etc).
A few people will rideshare just to save money on their commute, but far more will participate if the employer provides some kind of financial subsidy.
Employer must be supportive of employee participation, such as allowing employees to leave work in time to catch their vanpool.