Trent signs on with new ride-share pro­gram

Com­mute On­tario com­bines car­pool­ing with tran­sit and cabs

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JES­SICA NYZNIK Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

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

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