Clearing the Air – Duke Energy and the Charlotte Area Transit System
Duke Energy employees are beginning the day by conserving energy – on the commute to work. Although the company has a long history of supporting alternative transportation options, Duke Energy’s Transit Subsidy Program (TSP) has changed the way employees view alternative commute options. The comprehensive transportation incentive, available to full and part-time employees areas where public transportation is available, encourages employees to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and use alternative transportation options.
Prior to providing the TSP option in 2006, approximately 100 employees used public transportation each month in the Charlotte area. With implementation of the TSP, employee participation increased more than 200 percent by year-end. In 2007, the Charlotte Area Transit System’s light rail began operations and TSP participation steadily increased by year end. Today, employees continue to embrace the alternative transportation program, averaging over 500 percent increase in ridership levels since the program started.
Employee feedback about the program was so positive that Duke Energy expanded the program to employees in Cincinnati, Ohio and in Houston, Texas. ”Employee feedback has been a key component in developing the transit program and increasing participation,” says Brett Carter, President, Duke Energy Carolinas, “Employees told us that their need to drive their vehicles a few days a month to meet personal commitments was a deterrent to using the transit program. Now, Duke Energy Carolinas offers four free parking passes each month in addition to the 100 percent transit subsidy for employees who use monthly bus passes, light rail passes or vanpools.”
Duke Energy’s commitment to alternative transportation extends beyond its partnership with the Charlotte Area Transit System; we allow employees to use the program wherever there is a public transit option available. The company provides complementary parking for vanpools and carpools who meet certain criteria. To encourage employees who commute via bicycle, bike stanchions have been installed in uptown facility locations, shower facilities and lockers are available, as well as four free parking passes. The company has created an internal Web resource where employees can review Transit Subsidy Program guidelines or updates, ride-sharing opportunities and links to other Clean Air initiatives.
The Duke Energy TSP represents just one part of the company’s overall commitment to environmental stewardship and its focus on reducing ozone-related emissions as well as its long-term commitment towards a national sustainable energy efficiency and conservation effort.
Duke Energy has achieved “Best Workplace for Commuters” (BWC) recognition awarded by the BWC and sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation. Duke Energy has also been awarded the Clean Air “Champion Award” for two consecutive years: the Clean Air “Innovation Award” and the Clean Air “Sustainability Award”. Clean Air Works! is a regional effort to reduce ozone emissions and promote alternate commuting options in the Charlotte region.