01 Feb Hospitality businesses team up to address transportation ch…
More than 25,000 people power Monterey County’s $2.98 billion hospitality industry, generating $135 million in annual local taxes for city services and community programs.
To better understand how these hardworking employees impact local transportation patterns, the city of Monterey asked the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau and hospitality employers to conduct a traffic study and mitigation project.
The initiative kicked off with a survey of seven major employers, including several convention hotels and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The businesses represented 1,657 full‐time and 476 part‐time workers in the downtown Monterey and Cannery Row districts.
Most of those 2,133 employees live on the Monterey Peninsula, traveling to work from Seaside, Marina and Pacific Grove (53 percent) or from within Monterey (19 percent). Another 15 percent of workers surveyed commute from Salinas. While shift times vary by season, special event schedules and individual business needs, most employees start work at 8 a.m. and finish between 4 and 5 p.m.
While some individuals vary their daily mode of transit based on schedules, weather and personal appointments, the study found that approximately 1,400 employees typically drive to work alone. Smaller percentages travel by Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) bus, carpool with colleagues, walk or bike to work. A few respondents also telecommute or use vanpool, taxi or ride-share services.
The seven employers surveyed have introduced alternative transportation programs, including carpool matching, free carpool parking, shower facilities for bikers, and free or discounted bus passes. During a survey recap meeting, representatives from MST and the Transportation Agency of Monterey County discussed additional ways to make a difference.
For example, employers able to stagger shift times have agreed to do so where possible. TAMC also reminded employers about its Go831 program, which works to shift travel from single‐occupant car trips to buses, bicycles, carpools, walking and other “smart-commute” modes.
Offered free to Monterey County employers, Go831 provides tailored trip-reduction resources and connects businesses with companies who can share ideas and success stories. The program includes access to the Go831.rideamigos.com platform that helps employers manage commute options and incentives. Go831’s emergency ride home program reimburses participating smart commuters up to $60 per cab or ride-share trip if they need to address an emergency but don’t have a personal vehicle on hand.
MST representatives shared details on the Jazz line, Line 20 and free Monterey trolley routes that conveniently connect Seaside, Salinas and several Monterey neighborhoods. They discussed on-the-go schedule information available through the MST RealTime app, plus group pass discounts, free fare offers for residents of select zip codes, and a program that teaches new riders to navigate the transit system.
Employers plan to expand transit programs and include details in new-hire orientations.
“TAMC forecasts notable traffic improvements if even five to 10 percent of employees choose smart-commute alternatives once or twice a week,” said Jeroen Gerrese, resort general manager at Sanctuary Beach Resort and 2020 Monterey County Hospitality Association chair. “The hospitality industry is proud to lead the way on these positive solutions that benefit all Monterey County residents.”
The Monterey County Hospitality Association (www.mcha.net) is the trade association serving the local tourism industry with advocacy, education and employee recognition programs. The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.seemonterey.com) is a 501c6 organization that leads managed, responsible tourism growth for Monterey County.
Rob O’Keefe is interim president and CEO, Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.