July 26, 2022

‘FareShare’ Program Can Help Commuters with Monthly Travel Expenses If They Use Public Transit or Vanpools

Commuters working in Montgomery County can get reimbursed for up to $280 a month for using public transit or vanpooling, by asking their employers to set up a transportation benefits program. The “FareShare” program of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) offers reimbursements to local businesses for their employees’ costs for commuting to work by public transit—and the money is tax-free.

In addition to vanpools, the program could cover expenses incurred by commuters using Ride On bus, Metrobus, Metrorail or MARC train to commute to and from a workplace within Montgomery County.

Businesses looking to implement or expand a transportation benefit program must commit to covering the first $25 per month of travel costs for employees who use buses or vanpools. The County will cover expenses over the initial $25, up to $280 a month. The full subsidy could be as high as $3,360 per year, per employee. It is tax-free to both the employee and the employer.

There is a maximum payout of $40,000 to each business per year. The reimbursements can be a direct benefit, a pre-tax payroll deduction or a combination of both. MCDOT Commuter Services staff offers free assistance in setting up a commuter benefits program that is tailored to a business’ needs.

"I'm pleased to help businesses in Montgomery County work with their employees to increase public transit ridership and vanpooling in our area," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "This program helps take cars off the road and lower the cost of commuting to work while reducing pollution levels."

Participating employers also are eligible for a State tax credit of 50 percent of their $25 contribution per employee each month. This credit is available to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. For more information on tax credits, visit Commuter Choice Maryland here.

“A lot of workers are returning to offices at least on a hybrid schedule,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “With gas prices so high, people are looking for alternatives that will make their commute less expensive and more convenient. Employers have an opportunity to provide an impactful benefit to their employees and to reduce their taxes.”

Transportation benefits help raise employee satisfaction, help businesses recruit and retain employees, and help promote the organization as an employer that cares about its workforce and the environment.

A Montgomery County Commuter Services partner, Ellumen, Inc., recently received the 2022 Employer Recognition Award for the marketing of its commuter benefits program. The small privately held healthcare IT company based in Silver Spring has reduced employee vehicle miles traveled by 512,080 miles and saved an estimated 23,276 gallons of gas annually through marketing efforts geared towards employees.

For more information and to request free support to implement or increase a transportation reimbursement program visit the MCDOT website here.