Commuter Benefits Program | Operate + Coordinate | Our Work

Commuter Benefits Program

Brought to you by MTC and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program takes advantage of the federal tax code to provide incentives for riding transit or vanpooling to work.

Commuters line-up for employer supplied buses
Noah Berger
Commuters line-up for employer supplied buses
Friday, January 13, 2017

To reduce both traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, the program requires Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer one of four commuter benefit options to their workers:

  1. Pre-tax benefit — Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpooling expenses from taxable income
  2. Employer subsidy — Provide a subsidy to reduce or cover employees’ monthly transit or vanpool costs
  3. Employer-provided transit — Provide a free or low-cost transit service for employees, such as a bus, shuttle or vanpool service
  4. Alternative benefit — Provide an alternative commuter benefit that is as effective in reducing single-occupancy commute trips as Options 1, 2 or 3

Employer Assistance Available

MTC offers assistance to help employers implement the Commuter Benefits Program. If you need help with registration, please contact the 511 Commuter Benefits Specialist at, or call 511 and say "Commuter Benefits." ​ Or visit the Commuter Benefits Program page on

The Commuter Benefits Program is mandatory for all employers in the Bay Area with 50 of more full-time employees, per Senate Bill 1128, located in California Government Code section 65081. 


MTC and the Air District modeled the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program on commuter benefits ordinances previously established in San Francisco, Berkeley and Richmond, as well as at San Francisco International Airport.

The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program allows commuters to save as much as 40 percent on monthly transit or vanpool costs when they choose the pre-tax benefit option.