Southern Nevadans reported nearly 816,000 green commutes to the Regional Transportation Commission in 2013, prompting national recognition for local employers and government entities.
The Best Workplaces for Commuters, a program created by the National Center for Transit Research, honored 10 Nevada employers that participate in the RTC’s Club Ride Commuter Services program.
Club Ride is a free program designed to improve air quality, reduce road congestion, and encourage people to commute greenly.
When signed up, commuters can record each commute taken by carpool, public transportation, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot. If a certain number of commutes are logged in a month, that commuter becomes eligible to win prizes or gift cards.
The Eastside Cannery reported more than 20 percent of its employees used Club Ride last year, the highest percentage rate of the 10 designated employers.
Rich Fraley, a porter at the Eastside Cannery, is well acquainted with Club Ride. After giving up driving in 1995, he began riding the bus. When the hotel signed up for Club Ride, he joined in.
“I was always using the bus anyway,” he said. “Might as well get the prizes.”
Fraley walks a mile from his home to a bus stop, where he allows time for three buses to come and go, ensuring punctuality when arriving to work. In all, his commute takes about an hour.
“Not bad at all,” Fraley said.
Over the years, Fraley has logged hundreds of commutes and won multiple prizes.
Coworker Maria Johnson, who works in the Eastside Cannery’s uniform room and is also a member of Club Ride, said he’s the star when it comes to the drawings.
Johnson became interested in the program several years ago after seeing a presentation about it. She said she saw a table set up in the casino and couldn’t resist going over to check it out.
Along with the monthly drawings, Club Ride offers perks for its members, including discounted transit passes and a service that will take commuters home during the workday if an emergency arises.
Johnson utilizes Club Ride’s carpool option, and occasionally walks or takes the bus. She has become acquainted with several Eastside Cannery carpool groups.
“Sometimes I’ll be on my way walking and some of the girls driving together will pick me up on the way,” she said.
By the end of last year, 240 employees at the two Cannery properties had participated in the commuter program.
Patrick Hughes, general manager of the Cannery and Eastside Cannery, said the casinos have a unique culture that lends to their involvement with Club Ride.
“The success and development of the community is what drives us,” he said. “We want to make sure the community succeeds.”
To Hughes, that involves making a smaller carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same. People around the valley know both Cannery casinos as Club Ride locations, he said, and it helps add a family feel to the property since both employees and customers use public transportation.
“Families are here, staff is here, customers are here, all equally important,” he said.
Johnson agreed there is excellent morale throughout the casino, and said Club Ride contributes to it.
“It’s incentive to get to work, seeing your name up on the [prize] board,” she said.
The list of designated employers also included the City of Las Vegas, City of Henderson, several hotels and casinos, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the RTC and Zappos.com.
In 2013, Club Ride reduced almost 50 tons of carbon monoxide, said Diane Hanson, Club Ride project manager. That’s about 5,000 gallons of gas and 5 million miles reduced from southern Nevadan roads.
Contact reporter Annalise Porter at email@example.com or 702-383-0391.