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Harvard University: Green incentive for going green


Harvard offers reimbursements to those who bike to work

Bicycle reimbursements will begin in the 2013 calendar year as part of the Bicycle Commuter Act and will be provided to faculty and staff commuters who do not receive a subsidized monthly MBTA pass or annual parking permit from the University.

Commuting to work at Harvard just got a little easier thanks to two new initiatives being rolled out by the CommuterChoice Program this winter. The expanded benefits will offer bicyclists tax-free reimbursements for bike-related expenses, including purchase and repair, and will provide Emergency Ride Home services to faculty and staff commuters who do not travel by car.

“I think that the [Bicycle] Commuter Act benefits, in tandem — pun intended — with the Emergency Ride program, will allow people who have thought about going with a more green commute to really try it,” said Thomas Lingner, a Harvard College Library employee and regular bike commuter.

Bicycle reimbursements will begin in the 2013 calendar year as part of the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act and will be provided to faculty and staff commuters who do not receive a subsidized monthly MBTA pass or annual parking permit from the University and can provide proof of bicycle registration through the Harvard University Police Department. Employees will be eligible for reimbursement of the costs of bicycle purchase, improvement, repair, and bicycle storage at a tax-free rate of up to $20 per month with a maximum of $240 per year. The reimbursement will come from the University directly.
Once I began commuting by bike, I started to really look forward to those two rides each day. I bike about 4.5 miles each way, less than 20 minutes, but even that short time outdoors makes such a difference to my mental health.” — Thomas Lingner

In order to take advantage of the benefit, employees should start saving cycling receipts for calendar year 2013 and submit them with a completed “Bicycle Expense Reimbursement Request” form between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2014, to Crosby Benefits Systems. The form can be downloaded on the CommuterChoice website.

“Once I began commuting by bike, I started to really look forward to those two rides each day,” Lingner continued. “I bike about 4.5 miles each way, less than 20 minutes, but even that short time outdoors makes such a difference to my mental health. I hope that this new benefit encourages others to try getting to work on a bike. It’ll change your life.”
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