The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), in collaboration with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), developed the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program in accordance to California Government Code Section 65081. The Commuter Benefits Program is based on the Air District Regulation 14, Rule 1, requiring all employers with 50 or more full-time employees in the Bay Area to provide commuter benefits to employees. Employers with fewer than 50 Bay Area employees may be subject to a local commuter benefits ordinance.
To comply with state law and Air District and MTC regulations, employers must select one or more of four commuter benefit options, notify employees about how to use the benefits and register with the program by Sept. 30.
Step 1: Evaluate the four commuter benefit options and select one or more of the options to offer to your employees.
- Option 1: Pre-tax benefit: Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpooling expenses from taxable income, as much as $130 per month.
- Option 2: Employer-provided subsidy: Provide a subsidy to reduce or cover employees' monthly transit or vanpool cost, as much as $75 per month.
- Option 3: Employer-provided transit: Provide free or low-cost transit service for employees, such as a bus, shuttle or vanpool service.
- Option 4: Alternative commuter benefit: Provide an alternative commuter benefit that is as effective in reducing single-occupancy commute trips as options 1, 2 or 3.
Step 3: Go to https://commuterbenefits.511.org to register.
Step 4: Notify employees of the commuter benefit that your company will provide. Make the benefits available and let employees know how to sign up.
Step 5: Keep records to document implementation of your commuter benefits program and make the records available to the Air District and/or MTC upon request.
More information about the Commuter Benefits Program and employer requirements can be found in the Employer Guide at www.511.org.
For more information, contact Javier Gonzalez, CRA local government affairs director, at 408.416.6344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.