Story by Patrick Young on 08/09/2019The installation's ride-share initiative, Commute with Enterprise, kicked-off Aug. 1.
I agreed to join the first group of employees to help pilot the program and share my experience with the larger Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield community.
The Fort Stewart program is part of the Department of Defense's ride sharing initiative, designed to help save money, reduce pollution, traffic congestion, and stress. The garrison kicked off an information campaign in May to determine if there was a local interest in the program and if it was viable. Was there enough people living in the same geographic area with similar work schedules?
While waiting for the results, I learned the effort was supported by the Mass Transit Benefit Program, www.whs.mil/Mass-Transportation-Benefit-Program, which provides participants a transit pass that generally equates to each individual's transit cost up to approximately $265 each. While the program doesn't put any extra dollars in your pocket, it does save wear on your engine and reduce the amount you spend on gas.
How it works, is the pass funds are pooled through the Commute with Enterprise program that go toward the costs of the shared-ride.
The first ride share was organized by Windrick Smith, a logician at Winn Army Community Hospital. I joined Smiths group from the Richmond Hill area, who share a Commute Enterprise seven-passenger van. Smith said he and his wife, Marie who are both retired military service members working as civilians at Winn have seen ride share programs offered at other installations, and are happy to see it available on Fort Stewart.
Claudia O'Meara, one of the Winn ride-share commuters agrees.
"It helps reduce traffic and reduces our carbon footprint," O'Meara said. "Besides, it's nice not having to drive all the time."
Individuals wishing to be drivers in the car pool, have to apply at www.commutewithenterprise.com. The more drivers more you can share the responsibility and prepare for those times when someone goes on leave.
Members of the pool determine driving schedules, pick-up locations, and similar variables. But the more people who participate, the more options individuals will have. While I live across town from most of the Winn ACH commuters, a retired first sergeant I know, who runs an auto-repair business on Highway 17, allows me to park at his business. Parking fees are not covered by the program.
DoD employees who are interested in the program can learn more at the MTBP or Commute with Enterprise websites, or by contacting Dr. Robin Ellert, the Fort Stewart Workforce Training and Development Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.