Trent signs on with new ride-share program
Commute Ontario combines carpooling with transit and cabs
Trent University is the first postsecondary school in Ontario to adopt a new provincial rideshare program.
Commute Ontario encourages commuters to adopt healthy and sustainable transportation options, such as walking, cycling, carpooling and taking transit.
It’s free for municipalities, workplaces and campuses across the province.
The online program connects commuters for carpooling and offers an emergency ride home and a tracking system.
Trent signed up for the program at the end of September.
Shelley Strain, Trent’s sustainability co-ordinator, said the university has been encouraging carpooling for some time and Commute Ontario is a great next step.
“It gives people one more option for sustainable transportation to school,” she said.
Trent staff, faculty and students can access Carpool Ontario, an online carpool matching tool.
Faculty and staff will also have access to an Emergency Ride Home program. So, if someone carpools to Trent with others and needs to leave suddenly, they’re still able to get home via a taxi and Commute Ontario will reimburse them for up to $75.
“It gives people reassurance that they can still participate (in carpooling) and that’s not going to be a problem for them,” said Strain.
Through Commute Ontario’s Active Switch program, users can log the kilometres they’re travelling to see how many calories they’ve burned or how many greenhouse gas emissions they’ve saved.
There are also incentives through the program, such as earning points to win monthly prizes.
The city and GreenUP also jumped on board with Commute Ontario at the end of September.
Susan Sauve, the city’s transportation demand management planner, said they’re encouraging larger organizations, like Fleming College, the ministry of natural resources and forestry, and Peterborough Public Health, to step up, too.
“What we really need is for a lot of workplaces and individuals to sign up because it takes quite a few people to find a carpool partner,” said Sauve.
The carpooling tool can be used for regular travel destinations or sporadic ones, such as a
trip to Ottawa for the Christmas holidays, Sauve added.
Commute Ontario is a project of SustainMobility, a non-profit organization. Over the next three years, it’s aiming to reduce 17 million kilograms of greenhouse gases and 20 million vehicle kilometres travelled province-wide.
The program is funded by a three-year Grow Grant of $710,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
NOTE: For more information on Commute Ontario, visit www.commuteontario.ca