Commuters

Overview

Join other Seacoast workers who are commuting smart!

Driving alone to work is the most expensive way to go. Between the cost of gas, maintenance, and tolls, your wallet feels a lot lighter by the end of the week! A daily 40 mile round trip (e.g. Rochester to Portsmouth) can cost between $3,000 and $6,000 a year (depending on the price of gas and your vehicle’s fuel efficiency).

Consider carpooling, taking the bus, biking or walking to work, or telecommuting – even if it’s just once or twice a week.

You will save money and reduce stress. In addition to helping your wallet and health, you will protect the environment and reduce traffic for everyone.

Find A Ride: Information

Carpooling is an easy and convenient way to share a ride to work. Register for a ride match on our free,     confidential, no obligation, online database.  10 Reasons to Carpool 

 

Everybody into the pool! The car pool, that is. When you carpool with a co-worker or neighbor, you save money, lower your stress level, do your part for a cleaner, greener world, and heck, maybe have some fun!

There are plenty of people in the greater Seacoast region who want to dive in to carpooling. We can help you find them, then you decide if they are a good fit for you.

Improve your commute by carpooling with a co-worker or neighbor – you will save money and reduce stress. You will also help reduce traffic and air pollution.

The first step is to team up with another person or persons who live and work in the same area as you. In the greater Seacoast region, there are plenty of people who fit that description – and we can help you find them.

Register in our free, no obligation, confidential online matching database. Or give us a call at 603-743-5777 x.109, or e-mail us through our Contact Us form.

Check out 10 Reasons to Carpool

How do you get started?

Our instant online database will provide you with the phone number and/or e-mail address of commuters who live and work near you. Looking at possible ride matches does not obligate you to carpool.

You will need to contact the people on your matchlist to figure out the details of your ridesharing agreement. We have sample e-mails and phone scripts to help you get the conversation started with a potential carpool partner.

If you do not find a match, please check back as new people join regularly. Also, you may want to consider broadening your search radius (e.g. increase maximum detour from 2 to 3 miles) or  look for a match along the way.

Should you set ground rules?

A happy carpool is a successful carpool. Getting everyone on the same page before the carpool is formed prevents surprises down the road. Check out our carpool tips to help you get started.

Still have Questions?

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions about carpooling.

Get help

Call 603-743-5777 x.109 (M-F 8-5pm). Or send an e-mail to info@commuteSMARTseacoast.org

If you have a long commute (over 20 miles each way), consider forming a vanpool.

A vanpool is usually made up of four to 15 people who have similar work schedules and are going to the same general area.

Vanpool agreements with a leasing agency are month to month, so there’s no required long-term agreement.

Five reasons to vanpool:

  • Save money as compared to driving alone.
  • Reduce your stress from driving alone.
  • You can visit, doze, read, or text while commuting.
  • Preserve your vehicle. 80% of your vehicle’s wear and tear comes from driving to and from work.
  • Reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

Resources:

Tips for Successful Carpooling and Vanpooling

If your employer participates in the Commuter Tax Benefit Program, you can use pre-tax dollars up to $130 a month to pay for the vanpool.

When you start something new and exciting, it always helps to have a few tips to help you along your way!

  • Get acquainted first.

Make arrangements to meet prior to the first time carpooling together. A public place near your worksite is suggested.

  • Make a schedule and plan the route
    Establish the morning and afternoon pick-up points and time. If members of your carpool share driving, decide among yourselves if you want to alternate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Discuss flexibility
    When you create your schedule, make sure to discuss whether or not your group will wait for latecomers and for how long. What happens in event of inclement weather?
  • Split expenses fairly
    If members do not share the driving equally, calculate what the total cost will be per passenger. Set up a schedule for payment and stick to it!
  • Sweat the small stuff
    Creating policies in advance for cell phone use, smoking, eating, talking, temperature – even radio stations – will make sure everyone knows the ground rules from the start! Addressing these items at the beginning will help avoid conflict in the future.
  • Keep everyone in the loop
    Share home, cell and work phone numbers. Tell your carpool group about changes to your schedule (e.g. vacation or planned overtime) as far in advance as possible.
  • Have a backup plan
    There may be times when your driver has to unexpectedly leave work early or stay late. CommuteSMARTseacoast’s Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program can help in this situation for qualified carpool groups. Be sure to have your entire group enroll for the ERH program – before they need to use it!
  • Keep in contact
    Make sure everyone shares contact information, including cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses. It’s a good idea to keep a print-out of this information in the vehicle, just in case someone is sick or running late!
  • Give your carpool time to work.

It usually takes a few weeks for everyone’s schedule to come together.

An agreement to share the ride isn’t a binding contract. But if you find car- or vanpooling isn’t for you, give your partners ample notice so they can make alternate arrangements or find a replacement.

If you have a list of potential carpool partners but are wondering how to start the conversation, here are some suggestions.

Sample E-Mail

Simply copy and paste the sample e-mail below, sending it to the people listed on your ridematch list.

Greetings!

My name is _________ and I found your name on the commuteSMART carpooling database.

Are you still interested in carpooling to work? If so, you can reach me at (phone) or by e-mail at (List Your Email Address).

I look forward to talking with you soon!

Sincerely,
(Your Name)


Sample Phone Script

This sample phone script can be used when making that first call to one of your matches.

Hello!

My name is ___________. I found your name through the commuteSMART carpooling database.

Are you still looking for a carpool partner?

Is there a time and a place that we can meet to discuss sharing the ride to work?

 

How much does the commuteSMARTseacoast program cost? Nothing – it’s a FREE service.

Why should I carpool?

  1. Save money – Carpooling will reduce your commuting cost. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars over the course of a year, by saving on gas, maintenance, tolls, and wear and tear on your vehicle.
  2. Relax – Your commute will be more enjoyable if you don’t have to drive all the time. When you are not driving, you can  text, catch up on reading, close your eyes, or just relax a bit.
  3. Save the Environment – Carpooling takes cars off the road and thus reduces air pollution and traffic congestion. You can do your part to help preserve our precious NH environment.
  4. Save time – If you commute to Boston, you can take advantage of the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, which is dedicated for carpoolers.

What if I don’t have a car? That is okay because some commuters prefer to drive most or all of the time. You should be prepared to pay for a portion of the gas and other vehicle operating costs. These costs can be estimated and agreed upon based on the distance you will be commuting together.

What are some guidelines for successful carpooling? Please review the Tips for Successful Carpooling .

I am already in a carpool, so what can the commuteSMARTseacoast do for me? If your present carpool partner should decide not to carpool, or if you are looking to add people to your carpool, enrolling in the program would be beneficial. We can furnish you with a list of potential carpool members.  Commuters who register in the commuteSMARTseacoast carpool database are eligible for the Emergency Ride Home Program (some restrictions apply).  By logging your carpool trips in the database, you are automatically entered into quarterly prize drawings for such items as gift certificates at local restaurants, hotels, and retail stores.

I live in NH, but I work out of state…what should I do?  If you commute to Maine, register in the GoMaine program. IF you commute to Massachusetts, register in the massRIDES program.

How long will it take to receive my match list? After you register online, you will immediately receive your match list.

Exactly how does the carpooling program work? CommuteSMARTseacoast is part of a statewide database of people interested in carpooling. When you register, the computerized matching system will provide you with a map and list of potential people you may be able to carpool with. It is up to you to contact your potential carpool matches and determine if any of the matches seem like a good fit with your commute. Note: we suggest you meet your potential carpool match in a public place first to get acquainted and work out the details of your ridesharing arrangement.

What if I feel uncomfortable carpooling with a stranger? That’s understandable, which is why we suggest that you meet potential carpool partners in a public place before you commit to carpooling. Meet, talk, and decide whether or not you would feel comfortable sharing a ride. If you still feel uncomfortable after meeting, you can simply choose not to pursue the rideshare arrangement. You are not obligated to carpool. Perhaps you could agree to a trial carpool period to test the waters. If things don’t work out, the carpooling arrangement ends, no strings attached.

Are carpool participants screened? No, we do not screen participants. We do not run background checks on participants nor do we check for valid driver’s licenses or assess insurance coverage. We recommend that you get to know your potential carpool matches and verify licensing, insurance and vehicle registration. It is up to you to determine whether or not you feel comfortable carpooling with someone.

What do I say when I call people on my match list? Explain why you are calling and ask any particular questions you may have about carpooling with them.  Some examples are; what kind of car they have, their schedule, and where drop offs and pick ups might happen. See Contacting Your Matches for sample email or phone scripts.

Do I have to carpool every day? Absolutely not! You and your carpool partner(s) can determine what arrangement works best for you. Some of the most successful carpools only operate a few days a week. Some people just find it more convenient to carpool one to two days a week, and use the other days for things they need to do. Even carpooling a couple of days per week can add up to significant savings.

What if the data base can’t find me a match, what else can I do? Once you register, you remain in the database until you request that your name be removed. If there is not match today, when someone registers for the database that has a similar  commute to yours, you will be notified by email of a new potential match. CommuteSMARTseacoast has comprehensive information on all the transit providers in the area, perhaps you can use public transit to get close to your work site.

What is my commitment when I register? Registering and receiving a match report doesn’t obligate you to participate but gives you the information so you can select the possible matches. You may remove your information at any time.

How is my personal information used when I register? The database uses your home address and work address to scan for matches. Your home street address and phone number will not appear on another person’s match report. You will, however, need to provide work phone, cell phone number, or email address so future matches can contact you. The information you provide is used exclusively for the purpose of helping people carpool and is not distributed or sold for any other purposes. All data transmission over the Internet of sensitive data is encrypted and secure.

What if I need to leave work quickly due to an emergency and I don’t have my vehicle at work? Or if I drove, how will my carpool buddies get home? You may be able to take advantage of Emergency Ride Home program that provide alternate transportation if you are at work when an emergency arises for you or your carpool buddies.  Certain restrictions apply, read more here.

What if my matches aren’t convenient? You may want to re-run your search by changing how far you are willing to drive to a potential carpool match.  If you aren’t satisfied with your results contact us for an advanced match.

Can I track my environmental savings from changing my mode of transportation? After submitting your registration, your personal Welcome Page comes up. Click on Track your Commute to record your commute. Use the Mobile Commute Reporting link to register to receive a daily message to easily record your commutes through your smart phone or email account. After recording your commutes, go to Track your Commute to run a monthly report showing your environmental and financial savings.

Can I log in with my Facebook account? Yes – after you have registered in the commuteSMARTseacoast database you can link your profile to your Facebook profile. Once you do so, you can log in with Facebook. When you navigate to your commuter matches that also have a Facebook page you can see more about your potential carpool match candidates who have also linked their profiles to their Facebook accounts.

Transit Information

Your one stop for all your bus and train needs.

The greater Seacoast region has some of the most comprehensive bus and train options in New Hampshire, including COAST, Wildcat Transit, C&J,  and the Amtrak Downeaster.  More people use these options in the greater Seacoast than all of the rest of the state combined.

Hop on the bus or train!

Taking transit is a great way to save money, get some extra time to snooze, read or text, and simply relax. Enjoy the camaraderie of other commuters in what becomes a rolling neighborhood community.

Walking or riding your bike to the bus stop can become part of your regular exercise. What better way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle?

Looking for the bus or train schedule?
Click here for info on riding the bus!

Transit Tips
Click here to download the transit tips! (PDF)

Maps of COAST bus schedules and bus stops at Pease.

Click for map of Route 20 (express from Rochester to Pease Tradeport), Route 40 (Portsmouth Trolley), or Coast Bus Stops on Pease.

Hop on the bus or train!

Taking transit is a great way to save money, get some extra time to snooze, read or text, and simply relax. Enjoy the camaraderie of other commuters.

Walking to the bus stop can become part of your regular exercise. What better way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle?

Seacoast Bus and Rail Providers
COAST
Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation 603-743-5777 Routes & Schedule Info
C& J
C & J 1-800-258-7111 Routes & Schedule Info
Wildcat Transit
Wildcat Transit 603-862-2328 Routes & Schedule Info
East West Express
East West Express 1-800-245-2525 Route & Schedule Info
Amtrak Downeaster
Amtrak 1-800-USA-RAIL Route & Schedule Info

Bike or Walk Information

Leave the car at home – your body and your bank account will thank you for bicycling or walking to work.

Biking and walking are two of the easiest ways to commute. Physical activity helps you stay fit, reduce stress, sleep better, and feel better overall. Here are some tips on how to get started. You will save thousands of dollars a year, avoid getting stuck in traffic, reduce air pollution, and have fun.

Biking can become part of your daily exercise.

Commuting by bike allows you to arrive at work energized for the day and clear your head as you ride home. If your trip is long, consider biking part of the way and parking your car. Or you can bike to a bus stop and put your bike on the bus.

Still not convinced?

Check out 13 good reasons to commute by bike and the 10 Top Excuses. Not totally sure how to commute by bike? With a little planning about routes and safety, you can become a confident and skilled rider. Consider these tips for commuting by bike.

Looking for a biking buddy? Register on our free, no-obligation database to find a match. By logging your bicycle commutes, you become eligible for the free commuteSMART club, which includes the Emergency Ride Home program and monthly drawings for prizes.

Bike to Work Week May 11-16, 2015 All over the Seacoast and the country, people will be biking to work – for a day or all week. Find out more about this fun annual event. 

Bike Resources

Bike Tips

Share the road

  • Laws that apply to motorists also apply to people on bikes
  • Bikes are vehicles and should act and be treated as such

Signals and signs

  • Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings
  • Look and signal before you change lanes or turn

Safety

  • If the lane is too narrow or you are going the same speed as traffic, take the lane
  • Be visible and predictable at all times: wear bright clothing, signal and follow the law
  • Wear a helmet
  • Become familiar with NH Rules of the Road for bicyclists and cars

Route choice

  • Consider distance, traffic volume, road width/condition and terrain
  • Some routes may be a bit longer but are much more pleasant
  • Test new routes on the weekend

Bike parking

  • Try to find indoor parking or ask your employer/building owner to provide safe, covered parking
  • Lock your bike to an immovable object in a highly visible area

Clothing

  • If you have a short commute, ride in your work clothes at a relaxed pace
  • Waterproof and breathable fabrics keep you comfortable and dry
  • Whether or not you plan on changing clothes, it never hurts to keep a spare set at the office

Showering

  • Many workplaces have showers located in the building; inquire about access
  • Some health clubs offer shower-only memberships for a few dollars a month
  • If you’re not near shower facilities, baby wipes and other toiletry items can do the trick

The bike

  • Any bike that you feel comfortable on will work; make sure it is in good working order
  • Consider weather protection such as fenders and a rack for carrying capacity
  • Invest in a rechargeable headlight; helmet and handlebar mounts are available

Maintenance

  • Have your bike checked over by your local bike shop
  • Learn how to repair a flat, fix a chain and inspect your brake pads for wear
  • Replace tires when they are worn out

Weather

  • Fenders and rain gear help keep you dry
  • Wear layers on cold days
  • When it’s hot, try breathable clothing

From League of American Bicylists, Inc.

Why commute by Bike

Fight pollution

  • Automobiles produce toxic substances that pollute the ground, air and water
  • Burning fossil fuels creates CO2 that contributes to global warming

Stay fit

  • Bike commuting allows you to include a workout in your daily schedule
  • Riding a bike is often less stressful
  • Staying in better shape decreases your chances of getting sick

Avoid traffic delays

  • Off-road trails, bike lanes and wide curb lanes allow you to ride past traffic
  • Bike commuting often takes less time when you account for traffic and delays in public transportation

Save money

  • Maintenance costs for your automobile will decrease, as will your gas bill
  • You will save money on parking (and tickets)
  • You won’t have to have a membership to a gym to workout

Enjoy your commute

  • Arrive at work refreshed and full of energy; ride off stress after work
  • Commuting under your own power gives you a sense of accomplishment
  • Take the long way home and ride through a park or along a local river

List provided by the League of American Wheelmen, Inc.

Arrive at work invigorated and walk off the day’s stress. You may want to start with one or two days a week, gradually building up to full-time, or just staying at part-time. Most walkers commute about a mile (one way) to work, but everyone is different. Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • You don’t need fancy gear to start walking other than a comfortable pair of shoes and appropriate clothing. However, if you want to gear up, check out these suggestions on walking gear.
  • Do a weekend test commute to get a feel for the route and see how long it takes
  • Find a co-worker or friend who walks and join them
  • Consider tips and information on safe walking

To stay safe walking, follow these rules of the road excerpted from Wendy Bumgardner, About.com, updated July 22, 2008.

  • Be Visible: Wear bright colors when walking in daytime. When walking at night, wear light-colored clothing and reflective clothing or a reflective vest to be visible. Drivers are often not expecting walkers to be out after dark, and you need to give them every chance to see you, even at street crossings that have crossing signals. Be just as cautious at dawn or twilight, as drivers still have limited visibility or may even have the setting or rising sun directly in their eyes.
  • Be Predictable: Make a practice of staying on one side of the path while walking rather than weaving randomly from side to side. Watch your arm motions, or you may end up giving a black eye to a silently passing walker, runner or biker.
  • Cross Safely: Mom was right: look both ways before crossing any street. Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning. Give them a wave. Make sure they see you. In a car-walker interaction, you can only lose.
  • Walk Facing Traffic: If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. This gives you the best chance to see traffic approaching closest to you and take evasive action when needed.
  • Keep the Volume Down: Don’t drown out your environment with your iPod. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bike bells and warnings from other walkers and runners. Your audiologist will also thank you.
  • Hang Up and Walk: Chatting on a cell phone while you walk is as dangerous as chatting while driving. You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic danger, passing joggers and bikers or tripping hazards. Potential criminals see you as a distracted easy target.
  • Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners: Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or a “passing on the left/right.” Listen for them, and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely. Runners should also call out for passing.
  • Know When to Stop Walking: Heat sickness, dehydration, heart attack or stroke can strike walkers of any age. Learn the symptoms of medical emergencies and carry a cell phone to dial 911.
  • Be Aware of Stranger Danger: Choose your walking route for paths frequented by other walkers, joggers and bikers. Acting alert and aware can convince bad guys to choose an easier target.

You don’t need fancy gear to start walking. It doesn’t hurt to have a pair of shoes, some socks, and some clothing, but really you could go for a walk without any of those items. We’ve heard walking is more comfortable if you wear a pair of shoes, but we’re not pushing anything here. We’d really appreciate it if you at least put on a pair of shorts, though! Walking is the ultimate free and easy way to get around town. If you want some “gear,” check out some of the following options: Shoes – A good pair of shoes will keep you from getting blisters or cutting your feet. A good shoe should fit comfortably; have a flexible sole, and plenty of toe room. Socks – Comfortable socks are just as important as good shoes. Coolmax socks can wick away moisture better than the standard cotton sock, but we won’t send out the sock patrol if you choose to wear regular socks. Clothing – Go for comfort. Make sure you can move your legs comfortably. Clothing made from wicking fabrics that draw sweat away from your body can make walking more comfortable. On cold weather days, layer your clothing so items can be removed as you warm up. On sunny days, add a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Water – Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. If you are going for a shorter walk, drink some water before you head out and more when you return. If you will be walking for longer than 30 minutes, take your water along. Accessories – Bags, backpacks and other carriers (waist belts, and the ever-popular fanny pack), iPod, or exercise monitors (heart rate or pedometers), strollers, folding laundry/grocery carts and little red wagons can come in handy for hauling. Though far from necessary, they can add convenience to your walk. Safety & Security – Wear reflective bands and carry a flashlight at night. Always have your identification, emergency contacts, and when possible, a cell phone.

Telework Information

Avoid traffic altogether by working from home. Teleworking or using an alternative work schedule give you a desirable and flexible option.

Thinking about teleworking?

Whether it’s called teleworking, telecommuting, or working from home or a remote office, it’s one of the most desirable commute options in the greater Seacoast and across the U.S.

Telework refers to work that is done from a location other than the usual place of business – for example, your home or a satellite office.

Teleworking can be part-time, full-time, just occasionally, or only during emergency conditions.

There are numerous benefits to teleworking:

  • Increasing your productivity (studies have shown 10-20%)
  • Working at your peak times
  • Reducing your commuting time and costs
  • Reducing the stress of commuting
  • Improving your job satisfaction
  • Decreasing air pollution and traffic congestion

Is teleworking right for you?

Successful teleworking depends on your personal work-style and type of job. Honestly consider the following to see if it would be a good fit for you.

Your work characteristics:

  • Social – If you tend to talk with co-workers in the office, you can get more work done in a less distracting, uninterrupted environment
  • Well trained – You need to be confident in your ability to finish assigned duties and projects
  • Work independently – If you can manage your time and work independently in the office, you should be able to do this at home.

Your job:

  • Requires little face-to-face interaction and spur of the moment decisions with co-workers or manager
  • Can access information through technology and doesn’t need significant access to hard copies of documents
  • Doesn’t require daily use of office supplies and equipment
  • Has measurable work outcomes

Still not sure if teleworking is right for you?

Take three minutes to complete the eligibility quiz and get your eligibility rating. Based on your responses the Online Eligibility Gizmo will determine if you and your position are a good fit for telework. Then you can make the case to your manager.

Make the case to your manager

If you think teleworking is right for you, here are some tools to help you make your case:

 

 

Emergency Ride Home

One of the main reasons people are hesitant to try alternative commute options is the fear of becoming stranded at work or being unable to get home or to a loved one in the event of an emergency. The Emergency Ride Home program takes the fear out of leaving your car at home. Read more about the guidelines.

Click here is see if your employer is a member. If  not, talk to your HR Manager about joining (it’s free for any employer in Seacoast NH!) or contact us.

We’ve got you covered!

CommuteSMARTseacoast’s Emergency Ride Home (ERH) is your safety net if an emergency arises during work. Registered commuters who use a carpool, vanpool, bus, train, bicycle, or walk to work are eligible. All you need to do is take a taxi, or rental car and submit your receipt and Request for Reimbursement form

Who can use ERH?

You are eligible if you:

1. Work for an employer who is a member (membership is free)

2. Are enrolled in the commuteSMARTseacoast rideshare database.

3. Commuted to work by carpool, vanpool, bus, train, bicycle, or walking  on the day of the emergency

Qualified emergencies:

  • Unexpected personal illness or emergency
  • Unexpected family illness or emergency
  • Carpool/vanpool driver has an illness, emergency, or unscheduled overtime
  • Potentially dangerous weather (bicyclists and walkers only)

Please note the following do not qualify as emergencies:

  • Rides to work
  • Personal errands or pre-planned appointments during the workday
  • Scheduled overtime
  • On-the-job injury
  • Transit system failures
  • Vehicle failure
  • Building closings

Allowable destinations:

  • Home
  • Park and Ride lot or where your car is parked
  • Child’s day care or school
  • Medical facility
  • Interim stops are acceptable if they are part of the emergency

How to get there:

  • Taxi
  • Rental car

ERH Trip Allowance

You may submit up to six (6) requests per 12 month period, no more than two (2) in any month, for a maximum reimbursement of $90 per occurrence.

Steps to follow

  1. Arrange for emergency transportation (transit, taxi or rental car).  For car rental, contact Enterprise (603) 431-4707, code XZNHERH
  2. Take the trip and pay.
  3. Submit the Request for Reimbursement form signed by your employer with the receipt within 10 business days to info@commutersmartseacoast.org or fax to (603)743-5786.  Upon receipt and verification, you will receive a check in 10 business days.

commuteSMART Club

Want extra benefits from your commute? Join the commuteSMART club – it’s free! You log your commute and be eligible for prizes all year long! Club members are also eligible for the Emergency Ride Home program (certain restrictions apply). This ensures a ride from work in the event that you or your carpool partner needs to get somewhere in a hurry or work unscheduled overtime.

By logging your sustainable commutes, you become eligible for monthly drawings for gift certificates at local restaurants, stores, and entertainment. Record your commute today in our easy trip-logger!

Trip Logger

Each day you choose to commute by a means other than driving alone you save yourself a lot of money. And, you are doing something for the environment! Use your trip logger to keep track of how you get to and from work each day, and see the savings pile up! Click here to log your commute!