Carnegie is pleased to sponsor an employer/employee shared transit benefit program whereby Carnegie, at the election of the employee, will contribute up to $135 to cover part of the cost of a transit pass for the public transit system, qualified parking, or reimbursement of bicycling costs (up to $20 per month). This benefit must be used only for your daily commute to and from work and not for personal travel. Any unused transit amount submitted by Carnegie will credit back to Carnegie’s account. The pre-tax amount you elect will roll-over to the next month. Parking and Mass Transit funds will be on the same card and elections are managed on a monthly basis.
Which expenses qualify under the transit benefit program?
- Mass transit - Expenses for mass transit to and from work, up to the monthly statutory limit. Carnegie will offer up to $135 per month in transit benefits and the employee may elect to have an additional amount deducted from their pay as a pre-tax benefit up to the limit of $280. For 2023, the limit is $300.
- Bicycling - A qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement is employer subsidized (up to $20) for reasonable expenses for bicycle accessories, bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, provided the bicycle is regularly used to travel to and from work. You may not receive any bicycle reimbursement in any month in which you receive other qualified transportation benefits. Unlike other commuter transportation benefits, bicycle commuting benefits are not provided under an elective salary reduction agreement but are reimbursed based on submission of qualified expenses.
- Parking - This includes the cost for you to park your vehicle in a facility that is near your place of work. It also includes parking at a location from where you commute to work (e.g. the cost of parking in a lot near a train/bus station so you can continue your commute to work). Carnegie will offer up to $135 per month in parking benefits and the employee may elect to have an additional amount deducted from their pay as a pre-tax benefit up to the limit of $280. For 2023, the limit is $300.
Who is Eligible?
This benefit is available to all full-time and part-time employees, temporary employees and postdoctoral fellows.
How Does the Program Work?
The commuter benefit program offered by Carnegie Institution for Science through Commuter Check Direct provides you with simple online ordering of commuter benefit products for use with public transit, vanpool, commute related parking, and convenient home delivery of these products. Using the Commuter Check Direct website, you will create an account and place orders for transit and/or parking products. Commuter Check will send your Carnegie information about your selections and instruct them to make the proper pre-tax deductions from your paycheck. Commuter Check Direct will send your order to the address you entered when registering your account by the 25th of the month for use in the following month.
Ordering Vouchers, Smart Cards, Passes or Fare Media
Using the Commuter Check Direct website, you will create an account and place orders for transit and/or parking products. Once you have created your new account, mouse over “Place an Order” then select Transit, Vanpool, Parking or Biking. The system auto populates transit authorities in your area based on your zip code provided.
Commuter Check Direct will display the transportation providers in that area; select the provider you normally use to commute to work each day. If you need more than one provider, such as a bus for one part of your commute and the train for another, you will be able to add additional products to your shopping cart.
Available products include:
- Passes and Fare Media - Various transit passes, tickets, or fare cards offered by participating transit authorities across the nation
- Commuter Check Vouchers - The most flexible way to pay for transit expenses. Commuter Checks can be used to purchase transit passes, tickets, cards, or other fare media for the transit authority of your choice. They can also be used to pay for vanpool expenses.
- Smart Cards - Electronic reloadable cards that can be used to pay for commuting expenses at participating transit authorities
- The Commuter Check Card Prepaid MasterCard® - A re-loadable prepaid commuter benefit card that is accepted at transit agencies or designated transit retail centers where only transit and vanpool passes, tickets, and fare cards are sold.
There are several parking options available to meet your individual needs:
- Monthly Direct Pay - Allows you to enter your parking provider and other information about your existing monthly parking arrangement and we will pay your parking expenses directly each month.
- The Commuter Check Card Prepaid MasterCard® - This pre-paid debit card solution offers the functionality of a voucher with the convenience of a reloadable, personalized, debit card for use at parking providers. No receipts are necessary, and cards are loaded with the amount you specify each month and then used to pay for parking.
- Commuter Check for Parking Vouchers - Order vouchers and specify the denomination you desire, make your vouchers payable to the parking provider of your choice and we will then send the vouchers to you and you can use these to pay for parking expenses
- Parking Cash Reimbursement - Still need a reimbursement? Select parking election on the CCD site, enter the amount you wish to have withheld from your paycheck each month and then submit a claim form and receipts for reimbursement.
Ordering Bicycle Vouchers
This voucher solution allows you to take advantage of the $20 per month Bicycle Benefit, authorized by the IRS effective January 1, 2009. * Commuter Check for Bicycling vouchers can be ordered in any denomination between $10 and $20 and are accepted at participating bicycle shops and bicycle storage facilities nationwide! Use them as payment towards bicycles, bicycle equipment, repairs, and/or storage fees associated with your commute to work.
UberPool matches you with riders heading in the same direction, so you can share the ride and cost. It is Uber’s most affordable service and very popular — 20% of Uber rides are UberPool where the service is available.
How UberPool works
- Select the Commuter Check Prepaid Mastercard option.
- Next, download or access the Uber app on your mobile device and add the Commuter Check Prepaid Mastercard® as your payment method on UberPool. When you want to use the app for your commute to work, you simply select the prepaid card as your payment method and request an UberPool to pick you up.
- From there, Uber works as it usually does except you get matched with a vehicle that has 6 or more seats. One thing to keep in mind: because you are sharing a larger vehicle with other riders, you may experience longer wait times than a regular UberX ride. If you would like to request a private ride on UberX, you cannot use your commuter benefit.
Where you can use commuter benefits and UberPool
Currently, among the metropolitan areas serviced, UberPool operates in the following cities: Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.
What if my expenses change?
When you initially estimate your out-of-pocket travel expenses, consider that there are times when you will not be traveling to and from work, such as the winter break and vacations. You should make changes to your elected amount only for significant changes, such as moving to a different location in the area. Carnegie will not permit individuals to make changes for small amounts each month.
To Enroll in Commuter Benefits
Please click here to access myCarnegie and instructions to enroll in commuter benefits.