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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).


photo of Lesley and Jean with their bikesLesley 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.

Town of Newmarket logo“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.”

The Town of Newmarket is a member of Smart Commute Central York, one of 13 Smart Commute offices across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

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.


PowerStream vanpool group“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.

 

Browse more of our case studies

 

Enbridge logo

Knowing that workers in the Greater Toronto Area face the longest average daily commutes in Canada, Enbridge is working to minimize the stress and financial costs of commuting. As a result, the company is retaining valued employees, freeing parking spaces for other uses and reducing local air pollution. Enbridge: Purely efficient. 

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Halton Region logo

The Smart Commute Halton program was launched in June 2006 with employees at the Halton Regional Centre. It was set up as a demonstration program in order to provide an example of the types of programs that can be implemented at other regional facilities, local municipalities and employers within Halton Region. Since launching in June 2006 the Smart Commute Halton program has expanded to include the City of Burlington, Town of Milton and Town of Oakville, who are reviewing the opportunity to implement the Smart Commute Halton program with their employees.

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Hatch logo

Hatch Ltd., a Mississauga based engineering consulting firm, has demonstrated that with the right incentives and supports in place, employee carpooling programs can be hugely successful. 

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IBM logo

With over 20,000 employees nationwide, IBM Canada contributes to technological solutions driving business. A leader in many respects, IBM Canada is dedicated to helping clients innovate and succeed, and also helping its employees choose their way to work.

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City of Mississauga logo

It is a strategic priority for the City of Mississauga to be a leader in supporting urban mobility choices for its 3,500 employees. The City has successfully implemented several innovative programs and policies as part of its membership in Smart Commute. Examples include discounted transit passes for staff, secure bike parking facilities and reimbursement for staff cycling while conducting City business.

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City of Toronto logo

A pilot Smart Commute program held at the North York Civic Centre was successful at encouraging some employees to make the switch from single occupant vehicles to more sustainable modes. 

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University Health Network logo

UHN has developed a robust and holistic approach to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of climate change that arise from the day-to-day operations of the three hospitals – Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital – that form UHN.

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UOIT logo

With the opening of the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology (UOIT) in north Oshawa in 2003, came the challenge of providing students with viable commuting options. 

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York Region logo

Cost effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.

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York University logo

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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For a complete list of Smart Commute employers please click here.

 

Member and Partner Employers


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