A common excuse people use for “needing” their car is that they don’t know how they’ll get home if something crops up that would otherwise leave them stranded. In many cities, an organization provides registered users of alternative transportation with a way to get home in certain situations.
I know some of you are multi-mode commuters, relying on more than just your bike for at least part of the year… Family medical or personal property emergencies as well as unscheduled overtime forcing you to miss the bus or train are just a few hypothetical situations which are plausibly frightening for those of us who rely on mass transit for part of our daily commute.
Our program in KC is called Guaranteed Ride Home, and is a service provided by Mid America Regional Council in coordination with an area taxi company. If you’re a frequent user of the Johnson County Transit system, a car- or van-pool, or a bicycle commuter, MARC issues you two free passes per year. For those in and around Kansas City, check out the link for details.. I’ve personally never had to use this program, but I am a member of it should an emergency crop up. The one time that my wife had a medical problem while I was at work, the bus schedule was convenient enough to get me across the street from the hospital my wife was at in a timely fashion.
In talking to a lot of locals about the benefits of various methods of alternative transportation in general, many don’t know about our GRH program. Considering that “what if…” is one of the first reactions from these people, I’d say that programs such as this one can go a long way towards making people more comfortable leaving their cars at home.
Are there similar programs in your area?. Have you ever had to use it?