Uber and consumer benefits platform WageWorks have revealed a U.S.-wide expansion to a program that lets ride-sharing commuters pay using pretax dollars.
For the uninitiated, WageWorks administers voluntary employee benefit programs on behalf of nearly 60,000 employers in the U.S. One of these programs is WageWorks Commuter Benefits, which saves commuters money by letting them use pretax earnings to pay for commuting expenses. Historically, this has included bus and train fares, but now it includes Uber, too.
Through the program, first announced for New York commuters back in August, Uber and WageWorks invite employers to sign up to a plan that encourages employees to use UberPool ride-sharing services to commute to work. Through the initiative, employees add one of three prepaid cards to their Uber account– WageWorks Commuter Prepaid MasterCard, WageWorks Visa Prepaid Commuter Card, or the TransitChek QuickPay Prepaid Visa Card — and when a rider chooses to pay with one of these cards, they are always connected to a driver with a vehicle that seats at least six people.
As of this week, the program is being expanded beyond New York City into Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, Miami, and New Jersey.
One of Uber’s long-stated goals is to cut down on the number of cars on the roads by giving everyone access to their own private driver through their smartphone. For Uber, this makes sense, because the more people following that model, the more money for its own coffers. But it does also help solve a genuine problem in major conurbations — gridlock and traffic jams.
“The expansion of this partnership is a result of the success we saw in New York, and we’re excited to continue to make our riders’ commutes even easier in more U.S. cities,” explained Ronak Trivedi, product manager at UberPool. “By allowing our riders to use pretax benefits to pay for their UberPool commute, we’re continuing to get people in fewer cars, while making their daily commutes more affordable.”