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June 8, 2006

Pitt recognized for commuter benefits

Pitt is among 72 schools in 26 states on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inaugural list of “Best Workplaces for Commuters From Colleges and Universities.”

Collectively, these schools offered more than 568,000 employees commuter benefits that resulted in the annual saving of an estimated 30 million gallons of gasoline and $86 million in gasoline expenses. The schools also saved their employees 616 million miles of driving a year, according to EPA estimates derived from Energy Information Administration figures.

To qualify for the list, schools must offer telecommuting programs, transit benefits or other financial incentives that encourage employees to leave their cars at home.

Among Pitt’s commuter benefits are a free shuttle service throughout campus and nearby neighborhoods, free access to Port Authority transit, parking discounts for carpools, pre-tax payroll deduction for on-campus parking permit holders and free vanpool parking. Jan Thomas, assistant director for Parking, said about 25 percent of full-time faculty, staff and research associates at the Pittsburgh campus utilize Port Authority, carpools and vanpools.

Joe Phillips, assistant vice chancellor for Business, stated in a prepared release: “Not only do we provide the University community with a variety of ways to save time and money in their commute to campus, but in doing so we are able to be good neighbors to residents and businesses in Oakland by reducing traffic, as well as being good global citizens by providing commuting options that are environmentally friendly.” He commended Pitt’s partners, the Port Authority, CommuteInfo and Lenzner Coach Lines for their role in providing services to Pitt commuters.

The University also received EPA recognition last year as one of 11 Pennsylvania employers (and the sole honoree in Pittsburgh) named to the EPA list of best workplaces for commuters.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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