When I first started working at CUNY in 2008, I signed up for the Commuter Benefits Program offered to its employees. The program, now administered by WageWorks, allows you to set aside an amount of your choosing to be deposited onto a Commuter Card. The amount you set aside, up to $255 per month, will be deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax, meaning that those contributions won’t be taxed and you pocket the savings. 1
For New York City employees using WageWorks, the Commuter Card can be used to buy rides on the following systems:
- NYC Transit busses and subways
- Long Island Railroad
- Metro North Railroad
- NJ Transit
- and a bunch of other transit lines in the region.
Another way you can use your Commuter Card is to pay for uberPOOL rides. But before you start booking rides on POOL instead of riding the train or bus, be aware of a few nuances that might make using your Commuter Card a little onerous.
- You will only be connected to drivers in full-size vehicles that can carry six or more passengers.
- Your ETA may be longer when requesting uberPOOL or $5 POOL with your commuter benefits prepaid cards.
While I appreciate the creative thinking that made possible using transit funds for a certain Uber rides, I would love to be able to use my Commuter Card for bike share expenses. It’s something that other New Yorkers have desired, but alas, that is not yet the case.
- Starting this year, New York City requires all employers with twenty or more full-time employees to offer this program for their full-time staff. ↩