Commuter benefits breakdown: New York City, NY

New York City is one of the busiest cities around. Millions of Americans call the historic city home, and millions more visit every year. The hustle and bustle can get quite chaotic, but we’re here to break down how you can make it easier for your NYC-based employees to move around with a little more cash in their pockets and little less stress in the office.

For-profit and nonprofit employers of 20 workers or more are required to offer commuter benefits to their employees in New York (the law went into effect in 2016). The pre-tax monthly limit per employee is $270 starting in 2020, but there are ways you can still support your staff if they have to go above $270 a month. There are a lot of different transportation choices out there now, and these are the ones that are currently covered under the law in the Big Apple:

  • Metro: This includes both regular, discounted, and reduced-fare MetroCards
  • Bus: Take your pick of any and all NYC bus systems like the MTA Bus, Community Bus Lines, NY Commuter, and more!
  • Rail: We’ve heard the crazy commuter stories for NY, and the rail really helps those employees who may live out in Long Island, New Jersey, or other locations surrounding the city. 
  • Parking: Let’s be clear, this is only parking for work, not personal reasons. It includes things like parking at a metro station, company lot, and a few other specific parking situations.
  • Ridesharing: That includes UberPOOL, Lyft, and Via.
  • Ferry services: Think about those employees who may travel from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or even New Jersey!
  • Paratransit services: Access-A-Ride and others.
  • Vanpooling services
  • Commercial commuter vans: This one is a little tricky though, because not all commercial vans are accepted, but you can look into the specifics here

Aren’t we missing a few options? Here’s the thing — the mobility landscape is changing so quickly that legislation can’t really keep up! Bikeshare companies, like CitiBike in NYC, aren’t currently covered under commuter benefits. What employers can do is apply a cash reimbursement for the cyclists in the company. In Brooklyn rush hour, you can actually spot more bikes than cars on some of the busier streets, so it’s important to make sure your benefits reach all employees’ transit options. 

new-york-commuter-benefits-breakdown-what-are-the-commuter-benefits-laws-legislation-2019-2020There’s also been a rustling in the NYC wind, too. A bill was submitted in April of 2019 to legalize e-scooters and e-bikes in New York State. If this goes through then NYC can move to regulate electric transportation modes for their millions of commuters, which New Yorkers are asking for. Implementation may seem scary and chaotic in the beginning, but the benefits of increased micromobility options (especially in a city so large) far outweigh the costs.

Want more information about commuter benefits in general and how your company can help increase your offerings? Download our ebook right to your desktop for quick reference.

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