CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Getting to and from work can be the most frustrating part of anyone’s day. When the commute became a roadblock to hiring employees, some local businesses stepped up with a solution in the form of a shuttle service.
“It’s great and there’s Wi-Fi,” one commuter noted.
“This is much cheaper and much faster and much more convenient,” said another.
“It’s free,” one satisfied commuter boasted.
Free because employers pay for the shuttle.
“Boston and Cambridge represent a huge talent pool for us,” explained Russ Campanello, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at iRobot. “How do you get folks from Boston and Cambridge to take a job out here in the burbs is a big question.”
The answer to attracting top talent to the suburbs meant solving one of the biggest roadblocks: finding convenient and reliable transportation.
“We created this transportation organization because we heard from the business community that they needed more transportation resources,” said Stephanie Cronin, Executive Director of the Middlesex 3 TMA (Transportation Management Association).
The regional group began as a way to promote economic development and quickly realized there was a need to address transportation concerns. Middlesex 3 teamed up with companies in the area for these privately funded shuttles. And it’s not only for people living in Boston.
“We’re also working on a shuttle from Lowell to Burlington,” said Cronin.
The Middlesex 3 TMA has about 100 commuters traveling to 70 different businesses along the Route 3 corridor. This is one of 17 similar TMA’s shuttling an estimated 400,000 riders around Massachusetts. That is a whole lot of cars off the road.
Even more shuttles could be on the way. When the Bedford shuttle arrives at Alewife each morning, there is a second bus following behind it.
“We have a shadow shuttle because it’s become so popular that we are filling up the seats, and we want to make certain that we don’t leave anyone behind. There’s a huge demand.”
That demand comes from workers like Ryan Luginbuhl of Cambridge. He switched to the shuttle while his car was in the shop. Now he is rethinking his commute, opting to take the shuttle instead of the daily solo drive, even once his car is fixed.
What started as a workplace perk for a limited number of people, could eventually benefit everyone on the road, with a little less congestion.