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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

December 1, 2003

A gift that gets the new year rolling

DART Annual Passes reward workers with savings and convenience

This holiday season, employers are giving a gift that rewards their workers all year long -- a DART Annual Pass.

For as little as $30 a year - less than a dime a day per employee - DART Annual Passes help employees commute with ease, give businesses tax breaks and deliver valuable services and discounts.

DART Annual Passes imagesNew this year, Annual Passes are issued in four colors based on company location and employee participation. All allow unlimited transportation on DART trains and buses, and three are valid on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) and the Fort Worth T bus system. The passes are:

  • Platinum - downtown Dallas businesses with 100% employee participation
  • Gold - businesses outside downtown Dallas with 100% employee participation
  • Silver - businesses throughout the DART Service Area with partial employee participation
  • Bronze - businesses throughout the DART Service Area with partial employee participation (valid on TRE only to West Irving Station)
Approximately 100 companies have signed up to provide Platinum and Gold Annual Passes to 25,000 employees. Another 32 companies are issuing Bronze and Silver Annual Passes to 1,050 employees.

All Annual Passes provide extra benefits. Emergency Ride Home allows pass holders two free cab rides each quarter for personal transportation needs. The Executive Ride Program provides significant discounts from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. There are special offers from Cingular Wireless, Bluedini Satellite Entertainment, Countrywide Home Loans, Palm Beach Tan, Equity Residential and Bally Total Fitness. And of course, all pass holders get DART Destination Deals - discounts at shops, restaurants and services near DART Rail stations.

Businesses getting onboard
TXU Corporation got onboard with DART's employee pass programs four years ago, beginning with the Monthly Pass, and later the E-Pass. Today, the company has 1,400 Platinum Annual Pass holders in its downtown Dallas office, and additional Silver Annual Pass holders in other locations.

"We have lots of happy DART riders, and that's on buses as well as on trains," says Jerry Kerbo, TXU's manager of employee benefits. "I think our employees get more value from it than, say, their dental plan, because they get the benefit immediately - they use it at least twice a day. I don't think we would ever back up from the program. It's a great benefit for our downtown commuters, and at the same time it allows us to help with traffic congestion and the environment."

Greyhound Lines knows how to move people efficiently, so it's no surprise the company has issued Platinum Annual Passes to 394 employees in its downtown Dallas corporate office.

"We absolutely love it," says Blanca Gonzalez, senior manager for human resources. "This is our fifth year in DART's pass program, and the Annual Pass is a breeze to administer compared to the monthly passes we had 10 years ago. With employees coming to get passes once a year rather than every month, the time savings is a big advantage, especially for those of us who administer other HR programs."

DART's Annual Pass is a great recruiting tool, she adds. "Commuting on DART attracts applicants that otherwise would not want to drive downtown."

As one who rides DART daily, Gonzalez is doubly pleased. "When I first started riding, I was surprised at how much gas I saved. And I've never had so much 'me' time before. It gives me 45 minutes of personal time to read, chat with others, or do a little more work so I don't have to stay late. I can even just close my eyes after a long hard day."

Tax benefits . . . and fresh air
While creating a happy, productive workforce is a strong selling point for the DART Annual Pass, businesses should not overlook the tax benefits.

Tax laws allow employers to subsidize transit or vanpool fares up to $100 per employee per month. Employees receive the pass benefits tax-free, while employers get a full tax deduction and are not assessed payroll taxes or other costs on the amount provided.

If that's not incentive enough, everyone with a DART Annual Pass can take a vehicle off the road and ride DART's zero-emission light rail system and low-emission buses. "TXU is environmentally conscious, and the pass program contributes to that," says Kerbo. "It's good in so many ways."

Information about the DART's Employer Programs is available by calling 214-747-7433 or by visiting DART.org/employers.

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