Missoula business paying employees to go more green

More than a hundred local businesses in the Garden City are participating in a challenge that will not only reduce traffic in town, but also help the environment. 

Whether by bus, bike or feet, Missoula is Motion is challenging 106 local businesses to use sustainable transportation. 

 

"Missoula in Motion's commuter challenge is a two week long competition between businesses of similar sizes to see who can commute sustainability the most throughout those two weeks," Missoula in Motion Program Coordinator Katherine Auge said. 

But what counts as sustainable transportation?

"Sustainable transportation includes anything other than driving alone in your vehicle," Auge said. "So whether that be biking, walking, riding the bus, carpooling with another person or riding van pool." 

Auge said using alternative transportation can not only reduce congestion in the city, it can make a person healthier, and give them more money in their pocket. 

 

"[Alternative transportation] can offer a lot of benefits whether that's improving your health by incorporating an active commute into your work day and starting off the day with exercise. Or just saving money on gas and parking if you work downtown. We’re lucky to have a free bus system," Auge said. 

Missoula Federal Credit Union was one of the largest participants in last years commuter challenge with 35 employees involved. 

"We just find that alternative commuting is good for everyone, good for our members, we’re doing a major construction project right now, we’re actually saving a lot of money by not building as much employee parking as we could," Missoula Federal Credit Union Director of Impact Market Development Paul Herendeen said. 

The employees saved more than $1000 in total last year, and prevented more than 1500 lbs of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment. But the credit union wants to do more. 

"We wanted to reduce the amount of employee commuting that was going on, and we hit on offering an incentive for a dollar a day for employees to participate in an alternative commute," Herendeen said. 

The credit union started the commuter incentive challenge a week ago, and they've already logged 40 sustainable transportation trips. 

 

 

Regardless of whether your business is participating or not, Missoula is Motion is encouraging all to participate in the challenge. 

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