I discovered this week that in addition to adding six miles to my commute by moving our office to another part of Oakland, the company that was kind enough to hire me and continues to show that kindness by paying me every two weeks (Thanks, guys!) is seriously considering deleting its Commuter Check subsidy.
To be fair, I should point out that when I took this job, I knew I would have a long commute, some 67 miles each way, 90 minutes by car and 2 hours by train and bike on a good day. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in addition to paying for a third of my train ticket tax-free through the Commuter Check program, MediaNews Group would be kicking in about $33 of those dollars as an incentive to keep me out of my car, save the planet and solve our congestion problem.
There were other incentives, too. I received special dispensation to park at night in a more secure parking area so I could leave my car at work and take transit home. While many newspapers would not allow reporters to go car-less, after a building renovation project made nighttime parking impossible, I got by without a car at all.
The explanation, as you might have guessed, is that we need to cut costs, especially in the newspaper business. I got that, but the other reason given was that not very many people use this very precious of benefits. So the costs are low, right?
It seems that if our company is undergoing reorganization, and lots of people are having to commute to new locations, isn’t it possible more people will sign up?