CSUN has been named one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) with its programs to encourage carpooling and a new bus transit station.
BWC, an organization that gives qualified employers national recognition for meeting the “National Standard of Excellence” in commuter benefits, ranks employers with standard created by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the University of South Florida and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To qualify, the employer must offer one primary benefit such as employer-paid, tax-free transit and three secondary benefits such as shuttles, compressed work schedules and transit stations.
CSUN was was joined by 33 other schools on the list, including Yale University and UCLA.
One of the main reasons that CSUN was recognized is because of its “Rideshare Program,” which includes a public transit program that can save employees 60 percent off their transit pass if they take a bus, rail, or train to campus. They also offer a guaranteed emergency ride program, which gives registered employees who use an alternative commuting mode a one-way ride home in case of an on or off-campus emergency.
Astrid Logan, CSUN commuter transportation coordinator, said there are currently 230 employees registered for these programs.
“CSUN offers incentives and strategies for employees to consider that make their commute less stressful and more economic,” Logan said.
Phil Winters, director of Transportation Demand Management for the NCTR, said CSUN also makes it easy on students and faculty who live on campus and need to get around.
“CSUN provides a very comprehensive program,” Winters said. “The campus tram system provides a means for persons living in the housing area to travel between there and the campus core without driving their vehicles.”
One of the biggest additions to the transportation system at CSUN is the new transit system on campus, located on Vincennes Street between Darby Avenue and Etiwanda Avenue.
This system has eliminated the stress of finding parking for some students and has encouraged the use of public transportation.
However, varying and inconsistent schedules make it difficult for some commuting staff members to utilize all the options that are available. Humanities professor Ellyn Gersh Lerner said she makes her daily commute from West Hollywood.
“As an adjunct faculty member, my schedule varies greatly from semester to semester. Another CSUN faculty member who is a friend lives just a few blocks away, but he’s full time, and there’s never been the opportunity for us to carpool,” Lerner said. “I just know that if I could ride a train from West Hollywood to Northridge, I’d be very happy.”
CSUN is looking to add more transit services to its own station in order to make it easier for teachers commuting from different cities, Logan said.
Although full time faculty and staff receive benefits, the same cannot be said about part-time students who work on campus.
Samantha Johnson, 21, junior child care administration major, said she works as a student assistant at the IT Help Center on campus and makes a lengthy 45-minute commute from Palmdale.
Johnson added she uses a commuter bus called the Antelope Valley Transportation Authority when school is not in session, but she feels like CSUN could offer better incentives.
“My mother, who is a full-time (staff member), gets better discounts than I do as a student and gets access to van commutes,” Johnson said. “The new bus system is nice, but I think discounts would be much more helpful to a majority of the student population.”