CHRISTNER secures title in CMT & Green Business TRY & RIDE Challenge

Jean Ponzi, Green Business Challenge coach (left), and Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit (right), recently presented Natasha Dunwoody (center) of Christner, Inc. with the Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge award for securing the winning title of this competition that encouraged employees to integrate MetroLink or MetroBus into their daily work commute.

Jean Ponzi, Green Business Challenge coach (left), and Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit (right), recently presented Natasha Dunwoody (center) of Christner, Inc. with the Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge award for securing the winning title of this competition that encouraged employees to integrate MetroLink or MetroBus into their daily work commute.

Representatives from Citizens for Modern Transit and the St. Louis Green Business Challenge officially named the local green design firm, Christner, Inc., as the winner of its 2014 Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge. The announcement was made during the Green Business Challenge meeting held at the Lakeside Café at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The competition placed St. Louis-based Arcturis, Christner, Inc., Jacobs and The Lawrence Group in a head-to-head competition to encourage employees to integrate MetroLink or MetroBus into their daily work commute at least two times per week over a two-month period. Christner secured the winning title based on its employee participation rate, transit usage, availability of transit subsidies, the organization’s level of continued commitment to transit after the period and the company’s efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of the alternative commute.

“A little over eight months ago, Citizens for Modern Transit rolled out the Try & Ride program in an effort to address some of the perceived hurdles associated with using public transit by encouraging area residents to give transit a try for their work commute,” commented Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “This workplace challenge served as an organized extension of the Try & Ride program, which is currently being utilized by more than 1,300 area residents employed region wide.”

The Try & Ride program is available to any Missouri or Illinois resident who is a new rider to the MetroLink or MetroBus. Upon registration, participants receive a personalized transit route from their home to work, tickets to ride transit for the first month, enrollment in the Guaranteed Ride Home Program, tips and tricks on how to ride, a commuter journal and more. Those who register commit to using transit for two months. The cost of the first month of transit tickets is covered by Citizens for Modern Transit, while the cost of second month is the responsibility of the individual commuters. For those working at organizations that offer full or partial subsidies, such as Arcturis, transit passes for the second month’s ride were covered by the employers.

In order to participate in the Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge, the four participating companies had to get a minimum of 10 percent of their employee base to commit to traveling to work via MetroLink or MetroBus at least two times per week for the two-month competition period. The winner was determined based on the total number of points earned on the official Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge scorecard that analyzed a series of categories. Christner, Inc., and The Lawrence Group both earned 12 scorecard points out of a possible 17. However, Christner, Inc., ultimately secured the winning title through a series of differentiators, including the fact that the company had seven employee participants, logged the longest walk to work from the transit station, had the largest number of employees using transit outside of the workplace and collectively eliminated 3,505 miles of personal vehicle use from the roadways.

“Congratulations to Christner, Inc.,” added Cella. “It was a fun competition and all of the teams did an excellent job. This effort helped eliminate 11,887 miles of personal vehicle use from local roadways, while collectively saving participants approximately $7,225 in gas, vehicle maintenance and other expenses associated with driving.”

The competition ran from Sept. 2, 2014 to Nov. 2, 2014. Each of the participating companies also received “innovation” points for their involvement in the Try & Ride Green Business Leaders Commuter Challenge, which were credited towards their overall Green Business Challenge scorecard..