Carpooler Wins $1,000 in Gas

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John Thendean of Xilinx Corporation, San Jose, CA, won the grand prize of $1,000 for his participation in the 511 Rideshare "2007 Rideshare Rewards" program. Thendean's name was randomly selected from a drawing of all 2007 Rideshare Rewards participants. To qualify for the drawing, carpoolers had to carpool at least 40 days during a 90-day carpool period and submit weekly commute logs.

On Thursday, January 24, 2008, John Thendean of Xilinx Corporation, San Jose, CA, won the grand prize of $1,000 for his participation in the 511 Rideshare "2007 Rideshare Rewards" program.

Thendean's name was randomly selected from a drawing of all 2007 Rideshare Rewards participants. To qualify for the drawing, carpoolers had to carpool at least 40 days during a 90-day carpool period and submit weekly commute logs.

Thendean shares his commute with a co-worker, alternating the responsibility of driving every other day. "My carpool partner and I save a lot of money on gas, insurance and maintenance, not to mention the stress from traffic," he adds.

Carpooling has saved Thendean and his carpool partner 17,200 miles so far, by sharing the 80-mile roundtrip that originates in Pleasanton. Thendean has carpooled for over 215 workdays since registering for Rideshare Rewards.

He states that his biggest motivation to carpool is reducing stress. He adds, "Although traffic can be heavy in the evenings due to increased congestion, we don't stress about the time because we occupy ourselves by chatting or listening to the radio."

Thendean's reward will be paid in gas gift cards, which will save him money at the pump throughout 2008. His compact car achieves approximately 25 miles per gallon costing about $35 to fill up, on average. The 80-mile roundtrip commute to Xilinx from Pleasanton requires 2.5 tanks each month. Considering the driving arrangement with his carpool partner and the $1,000 gas card prize, Thendean will be able to commute to work for 11 months without having to spend his own money.

"When employees carpool, they save money and time, increase productivity and reduce absenteeism," says Linda Furnas, Employer Service Representative for the 511 Rideshare Program. "That's the message we're trying to communicate to employers. We partner with them to start on-site alternative commute programs for employees," she adds.

Incentive programs like Rideshare Rewards have been successful in motivating commuters to try carpooling. When employers support employees' carpool efforts or offer alternative commute benefits, like preferred parking or flexible work schedules, ridesharing can be even more rewarding. Plus, when Thendean's carpool partner is unavailable to carpool, he rides the ACE train or occasionally drives alone, demonstrating that ridesharing is flexible.

About 511 Rideshare:
With a RideMatch service database of more than 14,000 San Francisco Bay Area commuters, 511 Rideshare helps commuters find other drivers to carpool or vanpool together. 511 Rideshare also advises and assists Bay Area companies in planning and formulating customized employer-organized commute programs. Its mission is to reduce traffic congestion, clean the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

511 Rideshare is a free Web and phone service funded by the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and county congestion management agencies. Qualifying carpools can cross Bay Area toll bridges free of charge during commute hours. For more information, visit the Rideshare page at 511.org.

http://rideshare.511.org/

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Kit Powis
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