LYNNWOOD — Free employee bus passes were on the line last year as Cypress Semiconductor’s Lynnwood design center faced budget cuts.
The San Jose-based envirosystem firm’s managers struggled with eliminating bus passes. That decision could put more cars on the road, said Monya Waskowich, executive associate.
Instead, they took a tip from Community Transit and switched to the bulk-rate One Regional Card for All electronic fare card program, or ORCA. As a result, the company’s expenses weren’t the only thing to fall. Employees driving alone to the plant also fell — by 10 percent.
That distinction earned the company the 2009 Employer of the Year award from Community Transit.
“We are committed to green energy and wanted to continue with a public transit component to our employee benefits,” Waskowich said. “The ORCA card was presented. We saw how we could reduce costs while offering it to all employees. Before we didn’t publicize free bus passes to our employees.”
Community Transit’s Visionary Awards recognize employers in Snohomish County and Bothell who support the state’s Commute Trip Reduction goals. They also recognize employee transportation coordinators who promote the goals and employees and commuters who reduce vehicle trips to work by using alternative transportation. Awards were presented Feb. 26.
Community Transit receives funding from the state to encourage large employers to reduce single-occupant vehicle trips to their worksites. The Visionary Awards recognize those that succeed.
“Every year in Snohomish County, employees drive half a million less miles, save 60,000 gallons of fuel and keep more than 600 tons of greenhouse gases out of our air because of these trip reduction efforts,” said Bob Drewel, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council. “This program has proven itself to be very effective at reducing trips and helping our environment.”