Ask Charlie: Commuter Checks

I receive about 50 emails a week with questions about all aspects of my business and cycling. Periodically I will answer on the blog.

My employers has a bicycle incentive program through Commuter Benefits where they take $20 pre-tax out of our paycheck and give us paper vouchers (called “Commuter Checks”) to use at NYC bike shops. I heard one of my co-workers used some of these vouchers at your shop. I just want to confirm that you accept them. If so, I’ll come on in. 

Most riders do not know about this great pretax benefit available to commuter cyclists. You can ask your participating employer to set aside up to $20 a month in pre-tax dollars to offset your bicycle commuter costs. Use it for a quick repair, new fall/winter gear, a winter tune, or save up to buy a new daily ride. As in most transit situations cyclists are the poor cousins – If you ride the rails, you can set aside $130 a month, and if you drive, you can set aside $250. Given the growing global warming crisis and all the benefits cycling provides to society and to our individual health, I would expect the benefits to be reversed, with cars getting the short end of the straw and cycling getting incentivized and encouraged.

Back in 2001, I was part of a group of cycling advocates urging Congress to add commuter cycling to the transit check benefit. We have NY’s Senator Schumer to thank for introducing and pushing the legislation in the Senate and most of the New York City house delegation for co-sponsoring the bill in the House. We had to revisit the issue when we lobbied Congress again in 2002, and this time the bill made it to the floor with success.

If your employer does not offer transit check, here’s a link to learn more and help you and them get started:  www.mycommutercheck.com

-Charlie

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About bicyclehabitat

New York City's neighborhood bike store since 1978
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One Response to Ask Charlie: Commuter Checks

  1. Dee says:

    at first i thought i miss read it, it IS really hard to believe it is not reversed. do you know if this is only in ny? i would love to find out more about this for my state (or my city) of wa.

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