Commuter Programs And Public Transportation
Public Works Transportation Division supports many commuter programs to help Berkeley residents, students and employees reduce their dependence on single-occupant automobile commuting. This web site provides information on the following:
The Tax Relief Action to Cut Commuter Carbon (TRACC) :
The City of Berkeley is committed to meeting its Climate Action Plan goals by creating a healthy and sustainable community. Commuter programs and public transportation are important components of the Climate Action Plan as they help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the transportation and land use targets of the Climate Action Plan, including increasing the availability of car sharing, and our progress towards reaching them. For more information about other Climate Action Plan goals see: www.cityofberkeley.info/climate
The Tax Relief Action to Cut Commuter Carbon (TRACC)
Effective December 2009, Berkeley Municipal Code 9.88 requires employers with ten or more employees to provide a commute program to encourage employees to use public transit, vanpools or bicycles.
Berkeley's Tax Relief Action to Cut Commuter Carbon, or TRACCC, gives employers several options - businesses can offer their employees commuter tax benefits as a payroll deduction, provide a subsidized benefit, or offer a combination of the two.
A commute program can reduce business and employee taxes by tapping into federal tax breaks on transit, vanpooling, and bicycle commute expenses. Employers can save up to 9% on payroll taxes, and employees up to 40% on their commute costs. A commuter benefit program works like other pre-tax plans such as retirement, dependent care, and medical reimbursement, except that it's much simpler.
Many businesses work with their payroll provider or a third-party administrator to manage their program. Others choose to administer their program in-house, purchasing transit tickets or vouchers each month for their employees.
For information about the ordinance and how to comply, please contact our Online Service Center or call 3-1-1 or 510-981-CITY (2489) and ask for the Transportation Division.
The TRACC Ordinance
By November 2010, all employers in Berkeley with 10 or more employees (full-time, part-time, or temporary--anyone who works an average of 10 hours per week or more in Berkeley) must offer one or more of the following options:
- Pre-tax Transit/Vanpool: Employer provides a payroll deduction program under existing Federal Tax Law 132(f), which allows employees to use up to $125 per month in pretax wages for transit or vanpool expenses. For more information, see IRS Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits; or
- Employer Paid Transit/Vanpool/Bicycle Benefits: Employer pays for employee's transit, vanpool or bicycle commute expenses. (It is important to note that the bicycle benefit can only be provided as an employer-paid benefit and cannot be funded through employee pre-tax income. Employees cannot receive both a transit and bicycle benefit; they must choose one or the other.); or
- Employer Provided Transit: Employer offers workers free shuttle service on a company-funded vehicle between home and workplace.
Commuter Benefit Services for Employers
Click here for information about commuter benefit services for employers, including vendors for transit passes, transit vouchers, and benefits administration.
511.org also provides assistance to employers who are looking to offer and actively promote commute alternatives. Click here for more information about 511's employer programs and resources.
Sample Enrollment Forms
Click to view a sample Commuter Benefits Employee Enrollment Form (Microsoft Word or pdf). Employers may customize this form and use it to enroll employees in their commute programs.
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Other Bus Services in Berkeley
- West Berkeley Shuttle from Ashby BART station to southwest Berkeley, operated by Gateway Transportation Management.
- Bear Transit is UC Berkeley's shuttle system, servicing the campus and vicinity. Anyone can ride the shuttles which connect campus, Downtown Berkeley, parking lots, Clark Kerr Campus, the Hill area, residence halls, Richmond Field Station, and north and south sides of campus.
- Berkeley Lab shuttles are for employee and guest use only and operate between Downtown Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
- Alta Bates shuttles connecting Ashby BART and Alta Bates, and the Herrick and Alta Bates campuses.
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Carsharing is easy in Berkeley. Several operators offer programs in Berkeley neighborhoods and throughout the Bay Area. Cars can be reserved online or by phone. Usage is typically charged by the hour, and billed monthly. Costs usually include fuel, insurance, and maintenance.
For carsharing providers in the area, see: http://www.511.org/links/default.asp
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