The average American spends over 430 hours driving every year. That means a single passenger car emits around 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and consumes around 550 gallons of gasoline in one year.

In terms of ‘going green’ for the environment…driving less is something you could probably put in the top of your priority list.

If you’ve traveled around any city in the last couple years, chances are you’ve used one of the ride sharing apps Uber or Lyft. What about uberPOOL, Lyft Line or Via? These features allows you to share your ride and split the cost of your trip with another rider who is headed in the same direction.

This green idea of carpooling or ride-sharing isn’t new. But options for paying for these services is.

Enter: Pre-tax commuter benefits

Commuters can now use pre-tax dollars to pay for these ride sharing services in areas where it is available. Currently, these service providers operate in metropolitan cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco but cities are continuously added.

The best way to stay informed on if your city has been added would be to keep checking their websites:

If your employer offers commuter benefits, you can now contribute up to $255 in pre-tax income each month to your commuter benefits debit card for these rides. 

Note about Uber specifically:

Not all Uber vehicles are compliant with the IRS standards for commuter benefits. To be considered a commuter vehicle, it must have seats for six or more adults (not including the driver). So, riders can only use the larger Uber vehicles to be compliant. 

By adding your commuter card to the payment process, Uber will recognize that the card as a commuter card. So, when you select that card, it will allow you to request an approved vanpool ride. This website walks you through the process of requesting a compliant ride: https://www.uber.com/info/uber-commuter-benefits/.

How it works with PrimePay

If you have already partnered with PrimePay for commuter benefits administration, then your participants have access to this feature already. Your service team must activate Wired Commute for your participants, which may prevent some participants from using their regular transit vendor.  Here is the breakdown:

  1. The employee must add their PrimePay FLEX debit card to their wallet in the service provider’s mobile application.
  2. When they request a ride, they must request the appropriate vanpool ride and choose the PrimePay FLEX debit card as payment. 
  3. The service provider will automatically send a compliant vehicle and debit charges from the PrimePay FLEX debit card.

If you are interested in adding this new green feature to your Commuter Benefit Plan, please contact your service team at benefitsuccess@primepay.com or 877-972-6272.