John Galgano believes it’s time you give it up and join forces with strangers or co-workers headed in the same direction; the trip won’t take any longer, and you’ll breathe easier once you get there.
Galgano is the president of CommuterLink, a non-profit alternative transportation organization that encourages the use of car and vanpools and mass transit.
CommuterLink does not have a fleet of its own, but provides ride-matching services and mass transit itineraries to eco-friendly commuters in New York City.
And as it turns out, the commuters most interested in saving on gas live in Queens and Brooklyn - a majority of the group’s 20,000 car and vanpool members and 15,000 mass transit members hail from Kings and Queens counties.
“Brooklyn and Queens are by far our best counties” in the outer boroughs, Galgano said, followed by the Bronx and Staten Island. (CommuterLink’s services are in less demand in transit-rich Manhattan.)
The company, which is funded through city, state and federal subsidies, has grown steadily since Galgano launched it in 1996. That first year, just 20 to 30 new members signed up each month.
At the time, “people were more interested in the financial advantages,” Galgano said. “They weren’t so much concerned about sustainability and the green factor.”
Some 15 years later, times have changed. Today, a growing number of commuters in neighborhoods from Park Slope to Long Island City are thinking of Mother Earth first, and their pocketbooks second. CommuterLink adds roughly 350 users each month.
The service is simple: CommuterLink matches members who live and work near one another with an interpedently contracted car or vanpool service, which provides rides to work.
Prefer mass transit? CommuterLink provides detailed, personalized trip itineraries that Galgano said put websites like HopStop.com to shame.
“Our goal is to reduce congestion on the road and improve air quality,” he said. “Traffic is not getting any better. Gas isn’t getting any cheaper. I would think that our services will continue to grow.” (Daniel Bush)