By Claire Harlin
To keep up with the continuing advancement of green technology, especially in automobiles, the Solana Beach City Council on Oct. 10 revised its employee commuter program to exclude incentives for hybrids and partial or low emission vehicles.
Since the program was implemented in 2008, zero-emission and plug-in vehicles have emerged, which city officials feel are in line with their goals of improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel burning vehicles.
The Nissan Leaf led the way with the zero-emission electric auto technology, and Audi, Volkswagen, Scion and Cadillac have also come out with models.
The incentive program gives preferred parking to those who carpool or rideshare, as well as a guaranteed ride home program through the RideLink program created by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). Employees qualifying for the program also get an extra $80 per month and staggered work hour to allow for public transportation or carpool schedules.
The program aims to lower peak hour congestion on the roads in addition to its energy and emission goals.
To qualify for the program, employees must use alternative transportation at least three times a week on average. An exception of six days per month is given to fire officials due to their variable schedule.
Participants must complete a “daily commuter sheet” and employees receiving a car allowance may participate as a carpool driver, however, they don’t get double compensation. The following forms of transportation are accepted: carpool, public transit, bicycle, walking or any combination.