Commuters Find a Friendly Workplace at Mason

Posted: June 20, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently named George Mason University to its list of “Best Workplaces for Commuters” among the nation’s schools.

Annually, the EPA amasses a list of commuter-friendly employers, although this is the first year colleges and universities have been included. Institutions on the list help cut traffic congestion and pollution by providing mass transit, encouraging car pooling, improving air quality and saving energy.

The agency also takes into consideration how employers and universities affect employees’ and students’ quality of life.

One initiative that helped the university get on the list was its vanpool program for employees who travel long distances to reach the Fairfax Campus. Throughout the workweek, Mason provides seven full-size passenger vans to pick up individuals who live as far as 75 miles away.

Altogether, the vans carry a total of more than 55 employees from Luray, Front Royal, Culpepper, Warrenton and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and the Indian Head Highway area and Fort Washington in Maryland. The passengers are not expected to pay for gasoline or maintenance.

George Mason has also offered the Commonwealth Commuter Choice program since 1999. Employees who participate in the program receive up to $105 per month in transit subsidies that can be used for any transit or vanpool provider in the region.

Additionally, Mason offers free bus rides from the Vienna Metro station to the Fairfax Campus and free shuttle rides between the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses. The university also offers a telework program to employees, which eases road congestion.

George Mason was recently nominated for an award for its efforts from Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the nonprofit Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Commuter Connections offers free transportation services to those who work in the metropolitan area. The awards will be presented later this month.

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