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Bend

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Bend

ride-businesses-program@2xBend Public Transit Group Passes

 

If you are a business owner, providing Bend public transit group passes to your staff can be a benefit for everyone. Why should you consider group passes for your employees? Here is some information that can help you make an informed decision about providing a valuable benefit to your employees.

To Learn More:
Judy Watts
Outreach and Engagement Administrator
jwatts@coic.org

Bend Public Transit Group Pass Benefits
  • Provide a low cost benefit to employees
  • Free up parking spots and save money on parking structures, leased lots, and building additional parking lots
  • Expand potential employee pool
  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Risk free with emergency ride home program
  • Qualify for Oregon’s BETC Program
  • Pre-tax pass purchase for employees
Federal Tax Benefits

Federal law allows employers three ways to reduce the cost of commuting via public transportation (bus, train, ferry or registered vanpool) or qualified parking for employees.

 

Companies can offer employees:

  • Employee-authorized payroll deduction and the purchase is made with pre-tax dollars
  • An employer can share the cost with the employee, with both receiving a tax benefit
  • The company pays for the cost of the pass. The employer can deduct the amount paid from their taxable payroll, as well as claim a tax-deductible business expense

To review the IRS’ Employer Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, go to:

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p15b/ar02.html

 

Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC)

 

The BETC program allows businesses the option of receiving 35% of the cost of providing bus passes for employees as a State of Oregon tax credit.

Employer Options

Direct Billing - Issue passes to employees upon request and CET will bill monthly for only the number issued.

Group Pass Program - (See CET Group Pass Program below)

The monthly cost is calculated on where your employees work and live and the number of employees who work during transit operating hours for a low monthly cost, but the benefit applies to all your employees.

Example: A firm has 515 employees

  • 70% live and work in Bend
  • 85% work between 7:30am – 5:30pm

 

Monthly Cost Calculation:

  • 515 x .70 x .85 x $2.50 = $766
  • = $3,118 per month

All 515 employees would receive unlimited rides on Zone 1 (Bend Routes) by showing their employee pass.

Included:

 

  • Emergency Ride Home Program
  • Learn to Ride Program, Ride Planning Events
  • Annual Renewal
User Based Group Ride Programs:

These are all individually structured contracts that require approval by COIC-CET and the participating entity.

 

Examples:

  1. University – Students have free transit use with their student ID. These programs often are costs shared (a quarterly amount is included within the student fee structure and/or the university makes up the difference with the total contract price).
  2. Downtown Business Association – Businesses purchase a route, such as a circulator, and by paying the full cost of the service, have control over service frequency, day/time of service and advertise free bus service to access the supporting businesses.
CET Group Pass Program

A Group Pass Program is one in which the cost of transit fares is shared by a group. Bend Dial-a-Ride is not inclusive of this program. All persons within the group receive the transit benefit, whether or not they actually use the service. The employer enters into an annual contract for services with the COIC. In this way, the cost per person for the service is significantly reduced, and ridership within the group can be expected to increase significantly.

Qualifying Organizations:

COIC will consider any organization, public or private, for a group pass program if it:

  1. Includes at least 10 individuals
  2. Is financially capable and legally empowered to enter into a contract with COIC and meet the financial obligations dictated by that contract. The group pass program will apply to all members in the organization
  3. COIC will consider qualifying organizations on a first come/first served basis, only if COIC has the service and equipment capacity to serve that organization
  4. An organization may enter into a contract for a group pass program with COIC for a subgroup of the organization
Cooperative Organizations

Many organizations have fewer than 10 employees and wish to participate. In order to meet this growing need, COIC will allow associations to pool member organizations into a single employee pool and enter into a group pass contract within the guidelines above. The association may be for government, profit or nonprofit, but will be held responsible for the agreement and collecting required information and payment from the participants.

Pricing

A base rate per employee, per month will be levied on individuals within the organization. The organization may choose to participate in a program for only one specific zone or multi-zone. Based on the price per zone listed below, all employees regardless of number of hours worked, who have regularly assigned day shifts (between 7am-6pm, M-F) will be counted based on if they need a zone 1, zone 2, zone 3, or multi-zone to travel between work and home. Organizations with unusual employment structures for hours worked and or seasonality, such as schools, may negotiate a more tailored pricing approach with COIC. Once each year, the organization who has entered into a group pass contract with COIC will supply a list of all employees with the following information: last name/first initial, work location, home address, and standard shift. COIC will “certify” the correct employee count per zone and issue a certification to be used for billing the rest of the year.

  • Zone 1 - $2.50 per month per employee
  • Zone 2 - $8 per month per employee
  • Multi-Zone - $20 per month per employee
Term of the Contract

Contracts will normally be for a one-year period, with annual renewals.

Pass Identification

Group pass participants are to have photo identification that is easily verified by the bus driver. The photo identification may be either the organization's, in which case it must have a CET zone designated validation sticker, or issued by CET. In either case, the cost of issuing the photo identification will be borne by the organization. Participating organizations will be responsible for administering the program within their organizations.

Marketing

COIC will provide trip planning assistance for the individuals of a group pass organization. Marketing of the service to individuals of a group pass organization will be conducted where it is determined to have a significant impact on ridership.

Reservation Hours:
Monday- Friday, 7:00am - 4:00pm

541-385-8680
866-385-8680 (toll free)

Regional Fare & Service Change Policy
(adopted 2/3/11)