The Town of Newmarket launches Bicycle User Group and gets more employees in the saddle
“You’ll never know how great it is to bike to work unless you give it a try. It’s a ‘cycle’ you won’t want to break,” says Jean Phillippo, a Legal Administrative Assistant at the Town of Newmarket. Jean and her colleague Lesley Mitchell, a Payroll Administrator, are the official SPOKESpeople for the Town of Newmarket’s recently launched Town Riders in Motion Bicycle User Group (TRIMBUG).
Lesley and Jean attended Smart Commute’s Cycling Champion Workshop in April, and came away with the motivation and knowledge required to launch their own Bicycle User Group, which exists to encourage and support cyclists who wish to improve cycling conditions in their workplace, school or community. And you don’t need to be a die-hard, lycra-clad cyclist to get involved.
“Our goal is to get employees excited and motivated to ride to work,” says Jean, “whether it’s one, two or five days a week - we’re here to inspire.”
And both Lesley and Jean are inspiring, indeed. They walk the talk, cycling to work during the spring, summer and fall months (Lesley’s commute is approximately 4 kilometres and Jean’s is 2.5 kilometres) and enjoy benefits ranging from reduced gas and car expenses to increased exercise and a stress-free commute.
Lesley and Jean like to either cycle home or run errands via their bikes during the lunch hour. In addition, both women enjoy riding along Newmarket’s picturesque Tom Taylor Trail: “I enjoy seeing the geese and ducks around Fairy Lake and listening to the birds,” says Lesley. “It is very stress-free – you feel like you haven’t a care in the world.”
PowerStream encourages staff to share the driving and reduce the stress
Over the past four years, PowerStream’s vanpool program has grown steadily. Today, the electric utility that serves more than 355,000 customers in York Region and Simcoe County has six large vans that get 44 employees to work and back home again every day. In fact, 36 per cent of the company’s workforce participates in carpools or vanpools. It’s all part of a corporate focus on reducing emissions from employee commutes, while helping them save costs and make it easier to get to work.
“There are many reasons why I initially joined the vanpool program,” says Elizabeth Kay, an enthusiastic participant. “The obvious ones are saving money on gas, less wear and tear on my vehicle and the environmental benefits of having fewer cars on the road. I have also found that it is a great way to catch up with friends and get to know people in other business units that you wouldn’t normally interact with.”
The Environmental Coordinator at PowerStream is Caroline Karvonen. She explains how the company’s philosophy fits with the focus on improving employees’ commuting experience.“PowerStream’s corporate vision states ‘we will be a socially responsible company, committed to the environment and sustainable growth, leading the way into the future with boldness, innovation and best in class performance’,” she says. “Our carpool and vanpool programs are both testaments to this statement. PowerStream hopes to lead by example and encourages other organizations within our service territory to participate in similar programs.”
PowerStream is a member of Smart Commute - North Toronto, Vaughan, one of 12 Smart Commute offices across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
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Cost effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.
York University, Canada’s 3rd largest university, is home to almost 67,800 students, staff, and faculty (including Seneca@York) and is an excellent example of success made possible through smarter commuting.
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