cirta

Community Connect offers to help link people who live near each other and have similar schedules to allow them to carpool together to save gas, and help the environment.

Commuter Connect, a federally-funded service created through the Central Indiana Regional Transport authority (CIRTA), provides local residents with the opportunity for alternative means of transportation. It’s also something Assistant Director Jen Gebhard wants the community to know is an option.

The free service helps connect people to get to and from work in ways other than driving alone. Gebhard said the program has been around since 2004 and they are trying to reduce pollution in the area and connect people with opportunities to do so.

“We do a lot of different things,” she explained. “One of the primary things that we do is we go out into the communities and we try and get individuals to be aware and sign up for our database, which is like a match.com for carpooling.”

According to the website census.gov, in the 1980s, around 20% of workers carpooled. That number has declined since then and is now around 9.4%.

Gebhard explained that once people enter their database, they are connected with others who live near them, work near them and have similar schedules.

“If we find somebody close to you, we send you a list of people’s names, their preferred method of contact, and the name of the employer,” she said. “Home addresses are never shown, for confidentiality.”

From there, it’s all up to the commuters. Gebhard said the amount of carpooling they choose to do is up to them.

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to help people get connected,” she said.

Another aspect of Commuter Connect is connecting with specific companies to promote its service to their employees. Gebhard said they currently have around 800 employers around the region that are part of the program.

Some of the participating employers are companies like Amazon, multiple staffing agencies, and others. A full list is available online at commuterconnect.us.

Gebhard said any person or company interested in learning more about the program can sign up on the aforementioned website.

“We have a lot of resources people aren’t aware of,” Gebhard said. “We’re just looking to help people – whether it’s their paycheck, the environment or even their stress level.”

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