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New Rule May Mean More Company on Your Commute

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DURHAM — City and county leaders in Durham say it is time for employers to help ease the pain of Triangle traffic. Letters went out Tuesday to some of the area's biggest companies. The message: If every employee drives alone to work, companies will pay fines.

With 80 percent of Triangle commuters driving to work alone, carpooling would help lessen traffic on overloaded roads.

TheTriangle Transit Authorityis helping theCity of DurhamandDurham Countytell employers that it is time for workers to carpool.

"They have required that all of the employers in Durham County who have 100 or more employees participate in this program," says TTA spokeswoman Suzanne Fischer.

She says the companies must devise annual plans to show how they plan to boost carpooling and mass-transit use among employees.

Research Triangle Parkexecutives received letters Tuesday, running down the entire list of employer responsibilities. Some of those responsibilities include:
  • Employers must give all workers information on carpools and mass transit.
  • Alternatives, like telecommuting, are urged wherever possible.
  • Each employer must also appoint a transportation coordinator.
  • "We're trying to show them that there's a better way, better for the environment, better for roads and to make quality of life nicer here," Fischer says.

    The new traffic rules have teeth. Employers who do not comply can be fined up to $100 a week or $1,000 a year.

    Durham Mayor Nick Tennyson says the local governments do not want to collect any fines. They just hope all employers participate to see which traffic relief ideas work and which ones do not.

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    Mark Roberts, Reporter
    Terry Cantrell, Photographer
    Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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