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Medical Campus offers free, one-week transit passes to workers

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. will give one-week Metro passes to campus employees in May to encourage them to take the train or bus instead of driving to work.

Starting Monday and for three consecutive weeks in May, BNMC Inc. will offer a free, one-week trial to campus workers as part of its Give Transit A Try program and its broader initiative to promote healthy, alternative transportation options for campus workers.

The promotion comes in the midst of a growing parking squeeze on campus as the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences prepares to open later this year. The campus-wide workforce is projected to grow to 15,000 by 2018.

"We're trying to give people opportunities to come into campus without driving," said Susan Kirkpatrick, BNMC communications consultant. "It's part of our overall program to get people to think differently about how to commute."

The offer, promoted through BNMC's email newsletter and its website, is a precursor to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's broader plan in June to roll out a six-month trial of a new corporate matching discount that could cut the cost of a $75 monthly pass down to $38.50 for some commuters. The NFTA plan is offered to riders in their larger service area of Erie and Niagara counties.

"This gives people a chance to try it," Kirkpatrick said. "It's convenient and less stressful."

Organizers hope the weeklong passes provide a sampler for those thinking about different ways to commute to work. 

Those interested can sign up online at bnmc.org. As of Wednesday, 60 people had signed up.

"We'd like them to take it for a week and see if they like it, and get used to it a little bit. Whether they do a park and ride lot or bike to a Metro station, the whole idea behind it is breaking down the barriers for people to try something new and maybe break out of their typical habits of commuting and see what taking the train is all about," Kirkpatrick said. "You might realize you can read a book or newspaper, something you can't do on the 33."

The trial is good for seven days, including weekends.

"Our goal is to do something similar on a quarterly basis," Kirkpatrick said. "We're keeping an eye out for future ones."

 

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