Free services to help improve how you get to and from work.

Having a long commute is one thing, but doing it alone is a completely different beast. When you ride alone, you lose money. But more importantly, you lose time — and let’s be real, time is money. If you haven’t noticed, you’re getting your fair share of sitting in, whether you’re already sharing the ride into work on a carpool or riding the bus or train, or if you’re driving solo. All that sitting means more time to get things done. So whether you’re already ridesharing or are thinking about it, here are five fabulous things you can do with all that sitting time:

  1. Find knowledge. Catch up for your book club or branch out to a new, unexplored genre. Some of the books topping the New York Times Best Seller list you might want to check out include The Girl on the Train, The Wright Brothers, and Leaving Time.
  2. Make your menu. Use your Food Network, Pinterest, or AllRecipes app to plan your menu for the week. No more last-minute grocery runs for you!
  3. Stay connected. Haven’t talked to your college roommate in ages? Or do you need to plan who is taking who to the gymnastics meet and soccer game this weekend? Text or email whoever you need to get caught up since you can’t do that behind the wheel.
  4. Go on an adventure. Your commute will fly by with this Twitter throw-back to the interactive “Choose your own Adventure” books.
  5. Netflix. This site accounts for 35% of U.S. internet traffic, so why not hop on board during your commute? They have a slew of original shows as well as all of the oldies but goodies.

Look at all you can do instead of sitting behind the wheel. And we can help get you on the road to an improved and happier commute. Reach out at Info@GaCommuteOptions.com to see what commute mode is right for you.

Jenny Schultz is a Communications Specialist working on the Georgia Commute Options program. When she's not at work, she spends most of her time baking, dancing, and pretending to paint her house. Jenny has a pretty sweet telework space complete with Ikea furniture, a stability ball, and a fantastic view of her backyard.



Looking for easy ways to save money or be less stressed? Why not switching up your commute a bit? A new, cleaner commute can be super fun, save some money, put more dough in your pocket, and help relieve some of your daily stress. And it’s just a mouse click away. Georgia Commute Options can help get your started with a variety of options for clean commuting.

Carpooling

  • If you have a carpool of three people, you can earn a $40 gas card, and if you carpool with four or more people, you can earn a $60 gas card — each month you carpool for 12 months within a 3-year period.
  • Georgia Commute Options provides a free ridematching service to help you find carpool partners. We have thousands in our database looking for the same thing, and some might live or work near you.

Vanpooling

  • Vanpooling allows you to ride in a van along with 7-15 other clean commuters.
  • Referring a new vanpool rider earns you $50 after the new rider has completed three consecutive months in a vanpool. And you can refer as many new riders as you want, for as long as you are vanpooling.

Transit

  • When you take transit to work and log your trips online, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month.
  • Several employers offer discounted transit passes or help you purchase them with pre-tax dollars. Check with your HR department to see if you qualify.

Telework

  • Many employers allow you to work from home, which can increase your productivity and reduce your stress levels.
  • When you log your telework days with Georgia Commute Options, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month. 1 in 10 win!

Compressed Work Week

  • Some employees work a Compressed Work Week, which means compressing a full 40 hours into fewer than five days, giving you at least one less day to commute to and from work.

Bike/Walk

  • Fit in your workout as part of your commute, enjoy an emissions-free trip, and avoid sitting in traffic.
  • When you log those trips, even if it’s just part of the way, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month.

If you couldn’t tell, Georgia Commute Options is here to help you save money and earn even more. For more information on all of the incentive programs available to metro Atlanta commuters, click here.

Victoria is the Junior Communications Specialist for the Georgia Commute Options team - helping out with writing, editing, and maintaining all our important deadline schedules. She's a big fan of carpooling and Reese's. Want to get in touch with Victoria? Click here.



I’m Baaack! I ride transit because it makes CENTS for me and can even be relaxing. Plus, I get to pocket the savings for my favorite hobbies – eating, traveling and clearance shopping (did someone say shoes?)! I even have curb service right in my neighborhood for those days I want to stay parked.  

You can find me on the MARTA line in my “cutie off-duty shoes,” as my colleague calls them, listening to music, reading, or daydreaming about my next splurge from my savings.

So, what is the big deal with having a calendar monthly or 30-day unlimited ride MARTA pass? Well let me tell you. I get to eat, work, and play all on MARTA. Just to show you, I chronicled my ventures, excluding my daily commute to the office, on MARTA for a month:

  • April 8: Business dinner with colleague
  • April 9: Stand Up 4 Transportation Rally at MARTA Five Points Station
  • April 10: Car left at Firestone (Lenox) for repair; take train to work
  • April 11:Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park
  • April 13: Commuter Event in Midtown
  • April 17:University Earth Day in Midtown
  • April 22: Lunch with colleagues in Midtown
  • April 28: Social outing in City of Decatur
  • April 29: Georgia Commute Options Commute Honors awards breakfast in Downtown Atlanta
  • May 1: Doc appointment at Emory
  • May 3: Atlanta Women’s Expo at Georgia World Congress Center
  • May 6: Business meeting at Starbucks in Buckhead
  • May 7: Quick run to the post office at Buckhead Loop
  • May 8: Business lunch in Midtown

What Next:

Try it! Remember to check the MARTA On the Go App for schedules and the electronic information signs in the rail stations to make sure you don’t get left behind. 

In the words of my favorite scholar, Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go… you can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  

Tanya is marketing lead for MARTA’s Partnership Program assisting metro Atlanta companies with transit commuting solutions. She is a 14-year MARTA rider and advocate. To learn how your company can offer MARTA passes visit: itsmarta.com/employer. Read her first blog article here: Confessions of a Reformed Car-holic!





May 11-15 is National Bike to Work Week, a time when everyone has the chance to ride their bikes to work, even if it’s just part of the way. To celebrate, Georgia Commute Options and other organizations across metro Atlanta to host events that introduce biking to newcomers, encourage new ridership, and reward those already riding their bikes to and from work.

If you want to get involved in Bike to Work Day (May 15) in the metro Atlanta region, check out these opportunities near you:

  • Akers Mill Energizer Station: Celebrate National Bike to Work Day on May 15 from 7 to 9 a.m. in partnership with the Cumberland CID and Bike Cobb.
  • Recreation Center Energizer Station: Grab pastries, coffee, water, and breakfast bars along with cool bike gear giveaways on May 15 from 7 to 10 a.m.
  • Third Friday Decatur Fun Ride: Meet at the Decatur Recreation Center on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. for a ride with other bike buddies. The ride will be followed by a visit to a local pub or restaurant for refreshments.
  • Woodruff Park Reading Room Energizer Station: Grab high-fives and some grub on the way to the office as a reward for cycling to work between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on May 15. Find out more here.
  • Fix-a-Flat: Snyder Cycles will be parked in front of 55 Park Place to give Fix-a-Flat and bike cleaning/chain lubing lessons from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 15. Find out more here.
  • Colony Square Energizer Station: Join Midtown Transportation on Friday, May 15 in front of Colony Square at 14th and Peachtree Street for coffee and bagels between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Find out more here.

Did you know that every mile you drive alone costs $0.59 per mile? This adds up to thousands a year! Riding your bike to work can keep that money in your pocket — along with reducing air pollution and fighting traffic congestion. See how much you’re spending with our Commute Calculator here!

Happy Early Bike to Work Week!

Victoria is the Junior Communications Specialist for the Georgia Commute Options team - helping out with writing, editing, and maintaining all our important deadline schedules. She's a big fan of carpooling and Reese's. Want to get in touch with Victoria? Click here.



I am a reformed “car-holic.” I used to give my money, time and energy away freely. All of this happened during the most critical period of each day: my commute to work in my car. Driving alone (single occupancy) in my car, I would burn fuel, wear out my brakes, create tension and waste my time in traffic.

Then I began working at MARTA. Riding MARTA opened an entire new way of life for me. I start and end my day in peace as I listen to music, read books, play brain games and catch up on my emails. Decreasing my costs of car maintenance, fuel and insurance doesn’t hurt either. Being a MARTA employee has enabled me to work with metro Atlanta companies and commuters to provide this same serenity by offering transit benefits as a part of their compensation benefits package.

The personal benefits of riding MARTA to work far outweigh those of sitting in traffic. To name just a few:

  • More Money for Things I Love: I get to use the money saved for travel, a night out with friends or shopping.
  • Harmonious Work and Personal Relationships: Because I get to read and relax on MARTA I arrive to work and home in a more positive mood.
  • Melting the Pounds Away: Using transit contributes to my workout plan. Walking to and from my car and in the stations actually adds a mile of activity to my daily exercise.
  • Productive at Work: Because I don’t waste emotional energy dealing with the tension of driving, I arrive mentally clear.
  • More Informed and Intelligent: While commuting I get to catch up on news, reading, social media and the latest music. It also gives me time to organize my day.
  • Get Caffeine and Find New Eateries: I have found some great coffee spots to get a quick “cup of joe,” lunch or dinner right on the MARTA line. I have become the dining advisor for friends. 

  Companies love offering their employees transit benefits too. Some of these benefits include:

  • Recruitment/Retention Tool: MARTA as part of a compensation package is appealing to new hires and assists in retaining top talent.
  • Parking Lot Cost Reduction: More employees taking transit means less driving and parking, which saves on spaces and maintenance.
  • Health and Wellness Program Inclusion: Studies show commuting on transit contributes to increased physical activity.
  • More Money, More Money, More Money! Most companies contributing toward the cost of employee passes are eligible for a federal and state business tax deduction.

As the saying goes, “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” and it’s a MARTA train ready to start your commute and change your life.   

Tanya is marketing lead for MARTA’s Partnership Program assisting metro Atlanta companies with transit commuting solutions. She is a 14-year MARTA rider and advocate. To learn how your company can offer MARTA passes, visit: itsmarta.com/employer



It’s 2015. You’ve probably already noted that we’re living in the year Marty and Doc jumped forward to in the second Back to the Future film. But Marty and Doc’s 2015 was packed with hover boards and flying cars, and our 2015…isn’t.

Until now.

Rumor has it, flying cars are going to rolling off the assembly lines very, very soon. So soon, in fact, that it’s time to be proactive. If you can share the ride on the road, you can share it in the sky — start planning your flying carpool now.

Photo credit: Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment

What are the best ways to fly a friendly carpool? Read on.

Be a courteous flyer. Just because you’re in the air doesn't mean you shouldn't use your turn signal. Also, don’t tailgate, and don’t be too horn-happy. Let’s drive the friendly skies.

Be punctual.  Your car may fly now — but so does time. Plan your morning so you have plenty of time to pick up your carpoolers. No one likes to be late to work, whether by land or by air.

Make your (flying) carpooling serve one purpose. It may be tempting to make bunch of pit stops — especially now that you can fly over treetops to pick up your dry cleaning. But your carpool buddies likely just want to touch down at work or home; don’t drag them along on your errands.

Log your (flying) commute to win prizes! If you’re sharing the ride — whether it’s on the road or in the air — you can win cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options! So log those flying carpool rides and watch the rewards fly in. Get started here.

Now that flying cars are on the horizon, our commutes are going to look a lot different. But sharing the ride never stops making sense! Start your flying carpool today.

[Editor’s note: April Fool’s. If flying cars are your thing, looks like you’ll be waiting a bit longer. You’ll have to earn those Georgia Commute Options prizes on the plain old road!]

Lesley Carter is a communications specialist and the voice of Georgia Commute Options social media. You can get in touch with Lesley here.



When I’m not helping Atlanta commuters achieve commute-life balance, I teach yoga to help people achieve balance in other areas. And in a recent worlds-colliding moment, I discovered that one of my yoga students is also a Georgia Commute Options 25,000 Commuter Champion. Carol Ugonna, a teacher at Fickett Elementary School in Atlanta, has been carpooling daily to work for eight years.

Carol began carpooling with a teacher who has since retired.  By that time, she was so happy with sharing the ride that she recruited another teacher and encouraged him to give it a try.  Though he was hesitant at first because of the perceived loss of freedom, over time he has become Carol’s permanent daily commute partner.  Both Carol and her partner are enrolled in the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which Carol has used when things pop up in her schedule requiring her to stay after school hours.

Like all of our Commuter Champions, Carol saves quite a bit of money sharing the ride. In fact, she has saved over $16,000 by carpooling. The days that she does not have to drive she spends her time in the car grading papers, going over lesson plans and returning phone calls.  She has also earned money by logging her commutes on the Georgia Commute Options electronic logging calendar.  In recent years, she has been a $25 Prizes winner three times.  Her partner has won twice.  Carpooling has also led to both of having better attendance at work by helping them arrive earlier.

And as a student of yoga, Carol appreciates one specific benefit of carpooling above others: anxiety reduction. 

Six years ago, Carol experienced panic attack on the expressway as she was returning from work. Since then, her anxiety mounts when she even thinks of driving on the expressway — so she avoids it and uses the back roads.  She still does not drive long distances.

When I asked Carol how she deals with her driving anxiety, she surprised me with her answer.  “I use what I learned in yoga class.  I face my fear.  I know that I must drive to get to places, I simply avoid the interstate.  If I begin to feel panic, I use deep, parallel breathing.”  Parallel breath is a yogic breathing technique.  Inhalations and exhalations, each lasting the same amount of time, are done through the nose only.  Parallel breath is how the mind communicates to the body during a yoga practice.  It can also be used “off the mat” in everyday life as a means of calming the nerves and reducing anger and anxiety.

Having a partner to share the ride is also helpful in reducing Carol’s anxiety.  She just drives a short distance to meet her partner and they alternate cars (though the partner is the default designated driver).

Carol’s enthusiasm for Georgia Commute Options has caught the attention of an additional teacher at Fickett Elementary.  The teacher lives near Carol, and Carol has invited her to join the carpool.  Carol is hoping to expand her carpool to three, which would qualify the carpool for an additional benefit, the $40-$60 Gas Cards Program.

Thank you, Carol, for your contribution to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in Atlanta.  We could use more Commuter Champions just like you!

Are you ready to start an anxiety-free commute—and win cash and prizes for it? Find a carpool or vanpool partner here and get on the road to a better commute today!



When I was transferred to Atlanta five years ago, I knew from previously living here that I had to make housing choices that worked with the MARTA rail system. I was not prepared to return to a life behind the wheel driving to work. I went online and used the rail map for MARTA to limit my search for housing. I ended up living in Alpharetta so that I could use MARTA for both a quick bus ride down to the North Springs rail station and a train the rest of the way to work.

I work in the heart of downtown Atlanta, but my 32-mile drive is now a peaceful 5 minutes behind the wheel to the Park and Ride lot at Windward Parkway.

In the five years I have been back, I have never driven to work — not once. I buy gas once or twice a month, and that is more for personal driving than the little I drive to reach MARTA. No parking fees, no gas, no stress. I think the "no stress" part is what I appreciate the most. Arriving at work relaxed and already caught up on the morning email is a nice bonus to saving pollution, gas, and vehicle expenses.

Darrell is a 25,000 Commuter Champion and works for the Social Security Administration. To learn more about the Commuter Champion program, visit GaCommuteOptions.com/champions.



March is Women’s History Month. Throughout history, women have joined together to advance causes worth fighting for — from suffrage to civil rights to the fight against domestic violence. That’s how we know Georgia women have the power to take on a new issue facing metro Atlanta: Healthier air for our children and clearer, safer roads for our region.

It’s no secret: our region has a transportation problem. Our clogged roadways not only threaten our safety and waste our time — they also result in a build-up of air pollution that threatens the health of every breather out there. It’s hard to give our jobs and families our best when we’re hindered by traffic. It’s time to take action against the number of cars jamming our roads by taking up a very simple protest: sharing the ride! 

Think about it: By choosing to not drive alone to and from work — whether through carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking or riding transit — you’ll be joining a movement to get cars off the road and pollutants out of our air. That’s because for every person taking an alternative to driving alone, there’s one less car out on the roads. Georgia Commute Options wants to help you do your part — and we’d even like to reward you with cash for giving it a try! If enough of us join this movement, think about the difference we could make for Metro Atlanta’s traffic and air for generations to come.

This Women’s History Month, think about all the women of action throughout history — and think about becoming one of them. Join women all over the region working for a better, healthier Atlanta, one ride at a time. And if you’d like to find other woman warriors to carpool with, you can use our online ridematching tool at GaCommuteOptions.com! Find a ride buddy and join the movement today.

Lesley Carter is a communications specialist and the voice of Georgia Commute Options social media. As a car-free Atlantan, she knows how to get creative when getting from A to B — and she’s eager to help other commuters discover their non-driving potential. Lesley’s previous credits include ad copywriting, editing, blogging and youth outreach.