End Parking Mandates, Get a Free Bus Pass - Streetsblog
Great programs like this one in Minnesota don’t happen when big parking lots are mandatory.
What if more of our collective brainpower—not just our governments, but the billions of tiny decisions that add up to our entire economy—were working to reduce our dependence on the automobile? How many good little ideas might we come up with?
Here’s one: apartments that come with an all-you-can-ride transit pass included.
It’s happening right now in Minneapolis, the Star-Tribune reported:
Metro Transit plans to expand a pilot that provides all-you-can-ride passes to residents of apartments, condos and multiunit buildings with their rent. Randi Myhre participated the Residential Pass program during a six-month trial in 2019, and said she is thrilled it will be coming back this fall. “It’s a wonderful perk,” said Myhre, who lives in Oaks Station Place, an apartment building adjacent to the Blue Line’s 46th Street station in south Minneapolis. “It’s a top amenity,” she said, ranking it higher on her list of priorities than having access to the building’s fitness center, party lounge and theater room… Building owners paid Metro Transit $14 per month for each unit and offered one pass per household as part of their leases. (A regular Metropass for unlimited rides costs $83 per month.)
In case you were wondering, that comes to an 83 percent bulk-rate discount being offered by the transit agency. This makes it similar to employer-based bulk transit programs that have been common for years in larger cities but may need to adapt after the Covid-19 pandemic’s teleworking boom.
The pandemic may have permanently reduced many workers’ time in the office. But it hasn’t eliminated the 80 percent of their trips that go everywhere else, nor changed the fact that it’s better for everyone when more trips happen by mass transit.
There’s more, said Jennifer Hall, a regional manager for Oaks Properties, the building’s developer and owner. If you live in their building, they’ll give you a free car. A shared one, that is.
“We also provide a community car for our residents, if they have a doctor [appointment] or they have to go shopping,” Hall said. “I don’t know of any other community, at least around here, that does that.”
Trips of up to four hours are no cost to residents; the landlord covers the cost of the custom auto insurance and the charging station. (Yes, the shared car is electric.)