Commuter matchmaker changes name, broadens service

The service that matches carpoolers and vanpoolers is changing its name and trying to win over more employers.

Central Indiana Commuter Services, created in 2004 through a federal grant, is now known as Commuter Connect.

It will now provide more services for employers, including workplace assessments, on-site information fairs, and presentations on how to reap tax savings by helping workers choose other forms of getting to and from work.

Commuter Connect has a database of 6,000 commuters, with more than half already carpooling, vanpooling, taking the bus, or finding other alternatives to driving by themselves.

Several big employers are already helping employees find other ways to work. OneAmerica Financial, for example, partially subsidizes passes for IndyGo and Indy Express rides.

About one-third of the 160 employees at Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites use the hotel’s subsidy, in which it pays 30 percent of the cost of a monthly IndyGo bus pass.

“We want to be more of a resource for consumers, as well as employers,” said Commuter Connect Manager Andrew McGee.

“Frankly, we felt like ‘Central Indiana Commuter Services’ sounded a little too governmental and not as consumer-friendly as we want our services to be,” said Ehren Bingaman, executive director of Commuter Connect’s parent, Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority.

CIRTA also has been pushing for expanded bus transit and for the eventual introduction of commuter rail service in the region to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and stoke transit-oriented economic development.

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