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When Southwest Airlines joined DART's Employer Annual Pass Program in 2013, Lonny Hurwitz, a network planner with the Dallas-based airline, signed up immediately.
"I ride the Green Line and I choose to take the train to work for the convenience, consistency of service and reduction of stress from not having to drive in traffic every day," Hurwitz said.
Richard West, who works in Southwest's corporate communications group, joined the pass program about three years ago.
Southwest Airlines is one of about 200 companies that participates in DART's Employer Annual Pass Program. The program gives employers the ability to provide workers with transit and vanpool benefits. Employers either subsidize the cost or allow payment with pre-tax dollars. Employers and employees also may split the cost of commuter transit programs, with both groups receiving tax benefits.
Participants can purchase a DART annual pass at 75 percent of the cost of the individual annual pass rate. According to the American Public Transportation Association's January Transit Savings Report, a person who commutes by public transportation can save more than $9,000 annually over commuting by car.
"The Employer Annual Pass Program is a great way for employers to encourage their employees to reduce their commuting costs while also combating the growing challenges of parking and traffic," West said.
Bob English, DART's senior manager of consumer programs, said his team is continually educating employers on the advantages of the annual pass program.
"Earlier this year, we switched to HubSpot, a customer relationship management system," English said. "This new tool will help us better understand and manage the needs of current and prospective customers so that we can identify the pass program that's best for them."
In addition to the Employer Annual Pass Program, DART also has programs for property managers, high schools and colleges, residential properties, groups and conferences/conventions.
"Our region has seen tremendous growth and there is no indication of a slowdown anytime soon," English said. "For the companies relocating here, DART passes are a proven, popular recruitment and retention tool. And for employees, transit pass programs introduce them to the DART System - one of the many advantages of living in North Texas."
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