The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in partnership with the Napa Valley Vintners and Visit Napa Valley today launched Napa Valley Forward, an innovative commute program for Napa Valley wine and hospitality industry employees that provides incentives for carpooling and vanpooling, riding public transit, and walking or bicycling to make workers’ commutes easier and to relieve the valley’s vexing traffic congestion. The employer-focused initiative harnesses data to customize alternatives to solo driving for each participant.
Workers who enroll in Napa Valley Forward can receive subsidies such as Clipper card value equal to a 31-day VINE transit pass or $50 gas cards for registered carpools. Participants who log commute trips on the program’s website can earn rewards such as free coffee, gift cards and vouchers to local businesses; with extra reward points for those who walk or bike to work. In partnership with Lyft, a Guaranteed Ride Home is also available to Napa Valley Forward participants in case of an emergency or unscheduled overtime. Participating employees can use the Guaranteed Ride Home program up to four times per year with a maximum fare coverage of $125 per Lyft ride.
“Napa Valley Forward is a public-private partnership that uses real data to help real people,” said Napa County Supervisor and MTC Vice Chair Alfredo Pedroza. “We are empowering employees and employers to use data to help identify clusters of workers and set up alternatives to driving in your individual car that are reliable, cost-effective and more efficient. That’s how Napa Valley Forward can reduce traffic congestion on Highway 29 and Silverado Trail, and support sustainability in our region.”
Workers can enroll in Napa Valley Forward through participating employers in the wine and hospitality industries, 17 of which already are on board. Napa Valley Forward uses Luum commuter benefits software, which allows participants to enroll in both English and Spanish, making the program almost universally accessible.
“We’re excited to bring state-of-the-art commute management technology to Napa Valley so employees can take advantage of flexible, fun and cost-saving commute options,” said Nicola Szibbo, MTC Program Manager for Napa Valley Forward. “The program’s data-driven and geo-sorting features allow us to more thoughtfully deploy tailored strategies for shared mobility, and to target the incentives and rewards to make traveling to and from work easier and more convenient.
The Napa Valley Forward kickoff will include a series of launch events beginning this week and continuing through mid-March at locations throughout the valley. These events will provide employers and workers alike a chance to learn more about the program from Napa Valley Forward team members, who will explain how workers can receive subsidies and other incentives for their commutes, and can walk enrollees through the sign-up process.
“Traffic and housing issues are consistently listed as the top two concerns of Napa residents,” noted Rex Stults, Senior Director of Industry Relations for the Napa Valley Vintners. “That’s why we wanted to be involved with this project and why we’re hopeful it will lead to meaningful improvements.”
Employers already participating in Napa Valley Forward include Auberge du Soleil, Boisset Family Estates, C. Mondavi & Family, Cakebread Cellars, Calistoga Ranch, Embassy Suites, Harvest Inn, Joseph Phelps, Las Alcobas, Long Meadow Ranch, Meadowood, Napa Valley Wine Train, Opus One, St. Supéry, Silver Oak, Silverado Resort, Solage, Trinchero Family Estates, and V. Sattui Winery.
“We’re proud to partner with Napa Valley Forward to provide alternative methods of transportation for those who work in Napa Valley’s tourism industry,” said Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley. “We applaud our tourism partners who are participating in this innovative program, which we feel will make a significant positive impact for those who live and work in the Napa Valley community.”
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Napa Valley Vintners is a nonprofit trade association founded in 1944. Visit Napa Valley is the official destination management organization for the Napa Valley.