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Her name was Alexandra. She was my best friend in first grade. We rode the school bus together every day that year. She sat by the window, and I sat by the aisle. We talked about everything. Why did Gary call the teacher “mom”? Did Matt eat the chicken nugget after it dropped on the ground? Is Santa Claus the same person as mom and dad?  

Anyway, it’s Back to School time again as school buses return to roads all around Atlanta. Students are too busy with homework to read this post — which is why I am writing to parents and teachers!

When you were a kid in a school bus, traffic is the best thing ever! It means more time with your best friend before you have to get off the bus and start homework.

Now that we are adults, our best friends don’t always sit next to us, and our priority is getting home stress-free.

We may be too old for those yellow school busses, but we are never too old to start carpooling to work. In fact, there hasn’t ever been a better time to start riding with friends to work!

  • If you carpool to work, you can earn monthly gas cards from Georgia Commute Options — $40 a month for carpools of three people, and $60 a month for carpools of four or more people —  for 12 months within a 3-year period.
  • Not sure who to ‘pool with? 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, work, or send their kids to school near you.
  • If you’re trying carpooling for the first time, you can earn $3 a day — up to $100! That’s a lot of school lunches.
  • 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.

If car-rider lines are too long at your school, or if you’d like to get your kids thinking more about how cars affect healthy air, let us know! We have school partnerships all across Atlanta and would love to partner with your local school.

Chris Schneck is the School Accounts Manager for Georgia Commute Options. You can get in touch with Chris and get him out to your local school here.



Holidays and seasons sneak up on us every year like a predictable surprise. (But really, this summer has gone by faster than the others, right?)  Well, Back-to-School time is no exception, and it’s upon us!

By now, all metro Atlanta school systems are back in session. That means that almost 700,000 kiddie commuters have joined us on the road as they head to school. With over 700 buses in the metro school systems, in addition to teen drivers, vehicles from childcare facilities and parent drop-offs, that’s plenty of extra traffic. Last year, our friends at Georgia DOT gathered information about the impact of back-to-school traffic and found that surface street traffic grew by as much as 26.9% on some roads. Homeschool, anyone?

But there’s at least one commuter that’s not worried when kids head back to school this year. This gal! These days, I share the ride to and from work in a carpool. One leg of my commute will be stress-free as my carpool companion hops in the driver’s seat, leaving me free to do anything I want. When I drive, I have a passenger to chat with, an in-house DJ and someone absorbing half the cost of gas. I couldn’t ask for more!

Don’t be jealous; just explore commute options! Commuters can lighten the road load for the region by taking advantage of the different commute options available. And it’s not only about carpooling. Clean commuters can find the same benefits in a vanpool, swapping that school bus of yesteryear for an Xpress bus, teleworking, biking or walking. 

Also, Georgia Commute Options programs are available year-round! $3 A Day allows commuters to earn up to $100 over an assigned 90-day period. $25 Prizes is a monthly drawing for everyone that logs their commutes — and 1 in 10 commuters win! Carpools with three or more riders can earn $40-$60 Gas Cards. And with Vanpool Rider Referral, riders that refer a new vanpool rider can receive $50.

When headed to school, kids can keep their “commute options” in mind also. My Mom, a telework enthusiast, noticed last school year, the students in her subdivision created a “walking school bus” and walked the short distance to school when the weather was nice. Similarly, multi-family carpools and riding the school bus help to reduce traffic for all of us in the region. It’s never too early to get kids commute conscious!

Courtney is the Georgia Commute Options Administrative Assistant. You'll hear her friendly voice if you ever give us a call. She's a Pinterest and Netflix junkie, and loves baking and making lists. If you want to get in touch with Courtney, you can email her here.



Got kids heading to the bus stop this week?  We know what the first day is like for the school set: new clothes, new backpack, all swag.

We love it when kids take the bus to school — and we want to see how your little trend-setters are stepping out on their first day! (This much swag deserves to be shared.) Snap a pic of your kids at the bus stop and you could win a $100 gift card!

Here’s how to enter:

  • Follow Georgia Commute Options on Instagram: @GaCommute
  • Take a photo of your  kid(s) at the bus stop — or on their way to it
  • Post your bus stop photo to Instagram — and remember to tag @GaCommute!
  • Be sure to use one of our hashtags, too:  #backtoschool, #schoolswag, #yellowbuseshelptraffic2, #GACommuteSchools

Clean commuting’s not just for grown-ups, you know. Taking the bus is a great way to get kids to school safe and sound — AND put fewer cars in the school zone, cutting traffic and shortening that car-rider line.

Winners will be announced August 14, so post your photos soon to get in on the swag!

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



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