WPS Health Insurance Offers Employee Commuting Assistance
WPS is one of the largest health benefits providers in the state, and after more than 60 years, remains Wisconsin’s only not-for-profit insurer offering health plans statewide to the public and private sectors.
Its five locations in Dane County employ about 3800 people, many of whom commute long distances to work.
In Dane County, air pollution from vehicle exhaust now causes 50% of our total air pollution, so
reducing car trips is key to protecting our air. WPS has taken steps to help its employees with their long distance commutes.
By offering an Alternate Work Program, the company provides flexibility that employees appreciate, at the same time reducing air pollution and traffic congestion.
Several work week options, including four ten-hour days, also reduce employee transportation costs and time spent commuting.
In October 2005 when gas prices spiked, WPS responded to employee requests for company vanpools. A workforce survey identified three areas with a high concentration of WPS employees: Johnson Creek, Janesville, and Portage. Routes were planned to serve all three areas with 15-passenger vans.
Orientation meetings attracted many interested employees, but in the end few signed up. The Portage vanpool option was eliminated. Training was provided for van drivers through Madison Area Technical College and the other two routes were launched, but after about nine months, the Johnson Creek route was cancelled.
The Janesville route has been going strong since the beginning. In fact, at times there is a waiting list. As of June 2009, the van carries twelve people to work daily. This is cost-effective at about $100 per passenger per month.
A pre-tax payroll deduction of up to $120 per month is available to vanpoolers and bus riders through the Commuter Choice program. Learn more at www.commuterchoice.com/
To set up its own program, WPS used the State of Wisconsin Vanpool Rideshare Program (www.doa.state.wi.us) as a resource.
Some WPS employees have also taken advantage of the 70 State vanpool routes open to non-state employees. Commuters who register for the Rideshare Etc. program at www.cityofmadison.com/rideshare,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or 266-RIDE (7433) can enter their origin, destination, and work hours to find others within a selected radius making the same commute.
They get a free match report with contact information for nearby car and vanpool groups.
The Healthy Air Employee Commute Solutions Toolkit has provided WPS with new resources and additional information to help them continue to help their employees.
Contact us for free commuting assistance at your work site.